NATO's nuclear posture remains the same, despite Putin's rhetoric - Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference, ahead of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Monday, April 3, 2023
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference, ahead of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Monday, April 3, 2023 Copyright Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Sandor Zsiros
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The Russian President says his country will place tactical nuclear weapons at Belarus' western border.

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NATO has not changed its nuclear posture despite Russian President Vladimir Putin's latest rhetoric on the issue, according to the head of the military alliance.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary-General, told reporters on Monday that he has seen no movement of Moscow's nuclear weaponry, after Putin announced recently that Russia will station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, a former Soviet country directly within NATO's neighbourhood.

"The announcement by President Putin is part of a pattern of dangerous, reckless nuclear rhetoric where Russia and President Putin are trying to use nuclear weapons as a means to prevent us from supporting Ukraine, intimidation, coercion to prevent NATO allies and partners from supporting Ukraine in its right to defend its own country," Stoltenberg said.

"We will not be intimidated. We will continue to support Ukraine, of course. NATO remains vigilant. 

"We monitor very closely what Russia does, but so far we haven't seen any changes in their nuclear posture that requires any change in our nuclear posture."

NATO foreign affairs ministers will be in Brussels Tuesday and Wednesday for two days of official meetings, where they will formally welcome Finland as the 31st member of the alliance.

Finland and Sweden both applied for membership in the wake of Putin's invasion of Ukraine, but the ratification of Sweden's membership is being blocked by both Turkiye and Hungary. 

"We should not have the impression that Sweden is left alone," Stoltenberg said on Monday. 

"No, Sweden is very much inside NATO. Integration into military, civilian structures. Allies are ready to act and it's inconceivable that there are going to be any threats and military attacks against Sweden without NATO reacting."

Foreign affairs ministers will also discuss a new military spending plan for NATO where the minimum defence contributions of allies would be a minimum of 2% of their domestic budget.

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