Ukraine on Sunday demanded that the United Nations Security Council convene an emergency meeting to discuss Russia's announcement of plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus. File Photo by Peter Foley/UPI | License Photo
March 27 (UPI) -- Ukraine is demanding that the United Nations Security Council convene an emergency meeting to hold Russia accountable over its plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus.
"Ukraine expects effective measures to counter the Kremlin's nuclear blackmail by the United Kingdom, China, the USA and France, in particular, as permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, which bear primary responsibility for preventing threats of aggression with the use of nuclear weapons," Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Sunday in a statement.
Minsk, a close ally to Moscow, has aided the Kremlin in its war against Kyiv, allowing Russian troops to launch their invasion of Ukraine from within its borders.
British intelligence late last week said Russia had likely redeployed at least 1,000 troops who had undergone training in southwestern Belarus.
On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the Kremlin has given Belarus the Iskander missile system, which is capable of launching missiles carrying nuclear warheads.
Training of crew on the use of the new system will begin April 3 with completion of special storage for tactical nuclear weapons to be completed by July 1, the Russian leader said, who attempted frame the deployment as "nothing unusual."
The announcement has sparked worries about a further escalation of the year-long conflict and the potential that Belarus will be pulled into the fighting.
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, accused the Kremlin via Twitter on Sunday as having taken Belarus as a "nuclear hostage."
The move, he added, not only destabilizes Belarus but "maximizes the level of negative perception and public rejection of Russia and Putin in Belarusian society."
While demanding a U.N. Security Council meeting, Ukraine also appealed to Belarusian society to rejected the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons to their country, saying it violates their obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
It also called on the Group of Seven major industrialized nations and the European Union to inform Belarus about the consequences it will suffer if it agrees to accept the Russian weaponry.
"Ukraine calls on all members of the world community to take a firm stance and strongly reject another nuclear provocations by the Putin's criminal regime and to take decisive measures to effectively deter and prevent any possible use of nuclear weapons by the aggressor state," the foreign ministry said.
"Russia once again confirms its chronic inability to be a responsible possessor of nuclear weapons as a means of deterrence and prevention of war, not as a tool of threats and intimidation."
U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that the Biden administration has not seen any indication that nuclear weapons have been moved to Belarus or that Putin intends to do so.
"We've not seen any indication that he's made good on this pledge or moved any nuclear weapons around," he said. "We've, in fact, seen no indication that he has any intention to use nuclear weapons, period, inside Ukraine."