While it is clear "tensions are rising" as Vladimir Putin has moved to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, Republicans are warning to not let Putin threats deter U.S. action to support Ukraine.
"Well, Putin has engaged in nuclear saber-rattling since the start of this crisis," Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., told ABC News' "This Week" on Sunday. "It's something to be concerned about. But we should not allow his threats to deter us. We can't allow that to be a cause for delaying critical weapon system that we need to deliver to the Ukrainians."
Putin said Russia will be maintaining control over the nuclear weapons in Belarus, pointing to the U.S. stationing of nuclear weapons in Europe and maintaining control over them.
The timing of the move of the tactical nukes conspicuously comes after China's Xi Jinping paid a three-day visit to Moscow and Putin earlier this week, Gallagher noted, calling Putin "Xi's agent of chaos" and "tethered goat."
"I think, broadening this out, we need to understand that Putin is Xi Jinping's junior partner," he continued. "He is Xi's agent of chaos, his tethered goat in Europe. And if we try and separate these problem sets, I think we're going to result in a geopolitical posture that's ineffective.
"These are two countries who increasingly are allied against the West, trying to undermine us. And so, we have to understand what we're up against and make sure that we are re-arming so we can learn lessons from Ukraine and apply them to places like East Asia, for example."
Putin likened his plans to the U.S. stationing its weapons in Europe, and said Russia would not be transferring control of the weapons to Belarus.
"We are not handing over [the weapons], and the U.S. does not hand [them] over to its allies," Putin said. "We're basically doing the same thing they've been doing for a decade."
This could be the first time since the mid-1990s that Russia has based such weapons outside the country. Experts told Reuters the development was significant, since Russia had until now been proud that unlike the United States, it did not deploy nuclear weapons outside its borders.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.
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