Moscow : Russia has already stationed a first batch of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, Russian President Vladimir Putin was quoted by a media outlet as saying.
Putin made the remarks during his speech at St Petersburg International Economic Forum. He told the forum that they (tactical nuclear weapons) would only be used if Russian territory or state was threatened, the BBC reported.
The US government says there is no indication that the Kremlin plans to use nuclear weapons to attack Ukraine.
“We don’t see any indications that Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said after Putin’s comments.
Putin said that transferring the tactical nuclear warheads would be completed by the end of the summer, the British news broadcaster reported.
The Russian President said that the move was about “containment” and to remind anyone “thinking of inflicting a strategic defeat on us”.
When asked by the forum’s moderator about the possibility of using those weapons, he replied: “Why should we threaten the whole world? I have already said that the use of extreme measures is possible in case there is a danger to Russian statehood.”
Tactical nuclear weapons are small nuclear warheads and delivery systems intended for use on the battlefield, or for a limited strike. They are designed to destroy enemy targets in a specific area without causing widespread radioactive fallout.
The smallest tactical nuclear weapons can be one kiloton or less (producing the equivalent to a thousand tonnes of the explosive TNT). The largest ones can be as big as 100 kilotons. By comparison, the atomic bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 was 15 kilotons.