Against the Western threat, nuclear weapons are a key deterrent, Viktor Khrenin stated
Viktor Khrenin delivers a speech at the International Security Conference in Moscow, Russia, August 15, 2023 © AFP / Alexander Zemlianichenko
It is “obvious” that Russia and Belarus could find themselves in a direct conflict with NATO in the future, Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin told the International Security Conference in Moscow on Tuesday. Khrenin warned that the conflict in Ukraine has morphed into what he called “a global confrontation between the West and the East.”
Based on the increase in arms expenditure across the Western world, Khrenin’s “conclusion is unambiguous: the possibility of a direct military clash with NATO in the future becomes very obvious.”
“It is no coincidence that the Republic of Belarus considers the return of tactical nuclear weapons to its territory as an effective factor of strategic deterrence,” the minister added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in March that Russian nuclear weapons would be stationed in Belarus in response to the UK’s provision of toxic depleted uranium ammunition to Kiev. Moscow will only remove these weapons if the US removes its own nuclear missiles from Europe and dismantles the infrastructure associated with them, Russian Foreign Ministry official Aleksey Polishchuk said last month.
Ukraine’s Western backers claim that they are not directly participating in the conflict in Ukraine, and have avoided providing certain weapons – notably fighter jets and long-range missiles – that would risk provoking a direct clash with Russia. Nevertheless, they have sent Kiev more than $100 billion worth of arms, while ignoring Moscow’s repeated warnings that every subsequent weapons package brings the US and NATO closer to active participation in the conflict.
Furthermore, by enabling Ukraine’s drone attacks on Russian civilians, Western nations have become “sponsors of terrorism,” the Kremlin has declared.
“There is no doubt that the European power elites are focused on a global war against the East,” Khrenin said at the Moscow conference. “Today, this battle has morphed into a global confrontation between the West and the East on the territory of Ukraine. The proxy war in Ukraine has actually put the planet on the brink of a third world war.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has used similar language to describe the conflict, framing it as an attempt by the US and its subordinate allies to prevent the emergence of a multipolar world order. Russian troops are not just fighting the Ukrainian military, he said last year, but “the entire Western military machine.”