(Washington) The United States said on Monday that it had detected no “concrete” change in Russia’s nuclear posture since Vladimir Putin put his deterrent forces on alert.
“We are still monitoring and watching this as closely as possible” the day after the Russian president’s announcement, a senior Pentagon official told reporters. “I don’t think we saw anything concrete as a result of his decision. At least not yet,” he added.
This official acknowledged that it was “difficult to know what was behind Mr. Putin’s order”. But “the simple fact of evoking” or “threatening” a “use of nuclear forces” is “useless and represents a significant escalation”, lamented this official, reaffirming that Russia had “never” been threatened by the NATO.
In addition to the change of posture decided by the master of the Kremlin, his ally, Belarus, organized a referendum on Sunday which eliminates the obligation for the former Soviet republic to remain a “nuclear-free zone”.
Westerners have denounced this change, which they believe could allow Moscow to move nuclear weapons to Belarus, another neighbor of Ukraine which also borders several countries of the Atlantic Alliance.
Asked if such movements had already been observed, the senior Pentagon official replied “no”.
He also assured that the Belarusian military did not appear to have entered Ukraine as reinforcements for Russian forces at this stage.
“We have seen no indication that the Belarusian soldiers have been put in battle order to enter Ukraine, and certainly no indication that they have already entered or are entering Ukraine,” he said. he explains.
“To our knowledge, the forces that entered Ukraine are all Russian,” he added, adding that Moscow had now brought into Ukrainian territory “nearly 75%” of the combat forces it had massed in recent years. months at the border.