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Putin's tactical nuclear weapon poses actual threat, Biden warns

Putin's tactical nuclear weapon poses actual threat, Biden warns Photo: President of the United States, Joe Biden (Getty Images)
Author: RBC Ukraine

The threat of tactical nuclear weapons usage by Russian President Vladimir Putin is "real," noted President of the United States, Joe Biden.

"When I was out here about two years ago saying I worried about the Colorado river drying up, everybody looked at me like I was crazy. "They looked at me like when I said I worry about Putin using tactical nuclear weapons. It's real," Biden told a group of donors in California on Monday.

On Saturday, Biden called Putin's statement about Russia deploying its first tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus "absolutely irresponsible."

Tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus

Last week, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko announced that his country had begun receiving Russian tactical warheads, some of which are three times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped by the U.S. on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

The deployment marks the first time Russia has moved such shorter-range, less powerful nuclear weapons outside its territory since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The United States claimed that it does not intend to change its position regarding strategic nuclear weapons in response to the deployment and sees no signs that Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons.

The deployment of Russian forces is monitored by the United States and its allies, as well as China, which has repeatedly warned against using nuclear weapons in the war against Ukraine.

Russia and Belarus, close allies in the war against Ukraine, agreed earlier this year to place part of Moscow's tactical nuclear arsenal in Belarus. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, stating that the storage facilities would be built by July 1.

According to a survey by the Levada Center, approximately 30% of Russian citizens expect Putin to launch a nuclear strike against Ukraine.

Ukrainians consider Russia's nuclear blackmail a bluff. In October 2022, two-thirds (65%) of Ukrainians did not believe Russia could use nuclear weapons against Ukraine. Furthermore, respondents did not believe in the possibility of a nuclear strike by NATO countries (84%).