Belarus warns of war if Russia does not take action

Belarus is preparing for war if Moscow does not curb its nuclear ambitions, warning that the country faces a “potential of escalation” if Russia fails to respond to international sanctions.

The warning came in a statement from the Belarusian foreign ministry, after Moscow announced it would suspend an agreement between it and the European Union that aimed to limit its nuclear programme.

The foreign ministry’s statement said that Belarus will seek to impose new restrictions on the use of its nuclear arsenal “if the Russian side fails to do so”.

“If this does not happen, we will resort to force if the situation does not improve,” it said.

“The danger is that a new round of war might be triggered.”

The EU-Russia accord, which had been in place since 2016, was meant to curb Russia’s nuclear ambitions.

Under the deal, Russia would suspend all its nuclear weapons, but not deploy any of its own.

“Russia will not have to stop using nuclear weapons as long as it wants to,” the statement said.

Boris Yeltsin, who was President at the time, signed the agreement with the EU in 2015.

However, Moscow has continued to build up its nuclear forces, including new nuclear submarines, and deployed nuclear-capable bombers in the Baltic Sea.

Russia is currently on a “red alert” status in Belarus, which was placed under a state of emergency by President Vladi­mir Putin in November 2016 after the killing of a Russian journalist in the Russian city of Volgograd.

The Kremlin says the killings were carried out by a member of the Russian security services, but it denies this.

The EU and US imposed sanctions on Russia after the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya in May 2017.

Russia retaliated by banning two US senators from entering the country, and then threatened to retaliate by imposing a trade war with the US.