“Given these circumstances, as well as the legitimate concerns and risks in the sphere of national security arising from them, Belarus is forced to respond by strengthening its own security and defense capacities”according to the press release of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Belarus further stated that Russia’s plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus would not conflict with international non-proliferation agreements and that the Belarusian government would not have control over the weapons.
Putin announced the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons on Saturday, saying it was justified by increasing Western military support for Ukrainian forces, including Britain’s decision last week to send anti-armor munitions containing depleted uranium to Ukraine.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday, he will address participants in a virtual meeting hosted by the United States, where he will talk about what he sees as the path to lasting peace.
The US State Department announced that the Secretary of State will Antony Blink to host a session where participants, including foreign ministers of other countries, will present their views on what is necessary to end the war that Russia started more than a year ago.
Tuesday’s event is a prelude to the broader Democracy Summit, which will also include Ukraine.
“Our position of support for freedom will sound strong, as always”Zelensky said in his night address on Monday.
The US supports the prosecution of crimes committed during the aggression against Ukraine
Bet Van Sakthe State Department’s ambassador for global criminal justice, announced in a speech Monday night that the United States supports “development of a dedicated tribunal for the prosecution of crimes of aggression against Ukraine”.
Speaking at a conference on the Nuremberg Principles in Washington, Van Schaak said the most effective model for achieving accountability would include “the establishment of an internationalized court rooted in the Ukrainian judicial system, but which also contains a number of international elements”.
Answering a question from VOA’s Ukrainian service, Van Schaak said that Ukrainian officials are examining both that hybrid model and a more independent international institution that would need the support of the UN General Assembly.
Van Schaak said there may not be enough votes in the General Assembly for the new institution, which may need UN funding or support.
Nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia
In his address on Monday, Zelensky said that Russia used the nuclear power plant in Zaporozhye, the largest in Europe, “for radiation blackmail”. Russian forces have controlled the site since last year, while Ukrainian crews operate the facility.
“Holding a nuclear power plant hostage for more than a year is the worst thing that can happen in the history of the European and in general the global nuclear energy sector”said Zelenski. “The longer the Russian occupation of ZNPP continues, the greater the threat to the security of Ukraine, the whole of Europe and the world will be.”
Earlier on Monday, Zelenski met with Rafael Grossigeneral director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in the city of Zaporizhzhya.
“The situation at the factory is of course not improving”Grosi told Zelenski. “Of course, because military activity is increasing”.
Earlier this month, fighting knocked out power to the plant for half a day, forcing staff to activate backup generators.
Grossi expressed his concern about this development. The permanent loss of power in the power plants risks the outbreak of a nuclear disaster with implications for the entire continent.
“Every time we roll the dice”he told his agency at the time. “And if we let this go on from time to time, then one day our luck will run out.”
The six reactors of the Zaporizhzhya power plant are in shutdown mode and are receiving the electricity they need to prevent reactor failure through only one remaining transmission line. At times it had to switch to emergency diesel generators to power its essential cooling systems.