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Tags: russia | nuclear weapons | ukraine | isw

Russia Ramps up Nuke Threats to Deter Ukraine Aid

By    |   Wednesday, 05 April 2023 07:32 PM EDT

Russia is using nuclear threats to discourage Ukraine's Western backers from providing military aid ahead of an expected spring counteroffensive, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington-based think tank.

"The Kremlin continues to attempt to employ nuclear threats to deter Western military aid provisions to Ukraine ahead of Ukraine's planned counteroffensive," the ISW said in a press release.

"Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu," ISW writes, "justified Russia's decision to deploy tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus by accusing NATO of intensifying combat training and reconnaissance activities near the Russian and Belarusian borders and accused the West of escalating the war in Ukraine by providing additional military aid to Ukraine on April 4."

On Monday, the Biden administration announced $2.6 billion in aid for Ukraine. On March 25, in one of the most pronounced signals of nuclear escalation since the start of the war, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Tass state news agency that Russia, by July 1, would construct a storage facility for nuclear weapons at an undisclosed location in Belarus, which sits adjacent to Russia's and Ukraine's border.

According to Newsweek, just recently, the Russian ambassador to Belarus, Boris Gryzlov, stated the nukes would be "moved up close to the Western border" of Belarus, which would be in closer proximity to NATO countries such as Poland, Latvia, or Lithuania.

The Kremlin has confirmed that Putin will meet with Belarus' leader, Alexander Lukashenko, on Wednesday and Thursday.

While international relations scholar John Mearsheimer has said that Russia views NATO's eastward expansion as an "existential threat," the ISW reported that "the risk of nuclear escalation remains extremely low and that Russian deployments of tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus are highly unlikely to affect battlefield realities in Ukraine."

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

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Russia is using nuclear threats to discourage Ukraine's Western backers from providing military aid ahead of an expected spring counteroffensive, according to the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank.
russia, nuclear weapons, ukraine, isw
301
2023-32-05
Wednesday, 05 April 2023 07:32 PM
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