Monday, 29 May, 2023

Won’t change plans on Belarus nuclear weapons: Kremlin

MOSCOW: The Kremlin on Monday said Western criticism would not change plans announced by President Vladimir Putin to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in neighbouring Belarus, reports AFP.

The West condemned Putin's weekend announcement on placing the weapons in EU and NATO-bordering Belarus, triggering calls for new sanctions on Moscow.

Ukraine said it was seeking an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council over the move.

"Such a reaction of course cannot influence Russian plans," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Speaking during a televised interview on Saturday, Putin said Moscow would station the tactical nuclear weapons "without violating our international agreements on nuclear non-proliferation".

Meanwhile, Russian shelling of the eastern Ukraine town of Sloviansk on Monday killed at least two people and wounded more than two dozen others, authorities said.

"As of 13:00, there are two dead and 29 wounded in Sloviansk," Donetsk region governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Facebook.

He added that "administrative and office buildings, five high-rise buildings and seven private houses were damaged" in the attack.

"(Russian forces) struck the city centre around 10:30 (0730 GMT) with two S-300 missiles," he added.

Kyrylenko also said that another town in Donetsk region, Druzhkivka, was targeted by an attack.

"Two S-300 missiles hit the Druzhkivka orphanage and almost completely destroyed it," he said, adding that according to initial information there were no casualties.

"Another day that began with terrorism by the Russian Federation. The aggressor state shelled our Sloviansk," Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said on social media.

"The enemy must know: Ukraine will not forgive the torturing of our people, will not forgive these deaths and wounds," he added.

Russian forces have made the capture of the Donetsk region their main military priority and claimed to have annexed the region last year despite not fully controlling it.