Putin undercuts Xi Jinping's authority with decision on nuclear weapons in Belarus
By making the decision to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus, Russian President Vladimir Putin undermined the authority of Chinese leader Xi Jinping
Bloomberg writes about this.
The American agency points out that while Xi Jinping is trying to become a statesman on the world stage, Vladimir Putin is not helping him.
Having given assistance to a deal for Saudi Arabia and Iran to resume diplomatic ties, Xi has turned his gaze to other geopolitical troubles: Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine and the need to reset China-US ties.
In particular, Xi spent three days in Moscow, where he held lengthy talks with Putin. In a joint statement, they said that "all nuclear weapon states should refrain from deploying nuclear weapons abroad."
But just a few days later, the Russian dictator undermined China's leader by announcing plans to send tactical nuclear weapons to neighboring Belarus. This could be the first time Russia has deployed nuclear weapons abroad since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
"Whether Putin is bluffing on his arsenal, it puts Xi in an awkward spot in his efforts to make China a reliable broker in mediating conflicts — he spoke today with the Saudi crown prince again on Iran.
Xi has neither overtly backed nor heavily criticized Putin over Ukraine. But one thing he has clearly stated for months: Russia should not use nuclear weapons in the fight," Bloomberg emphasizes.
The agency believes that Putin’s posturing may raise doubts on how much influence Xi has over him, even taking into account Russia’s economic dependence on China and the Russian president’s need for diplomatic supporters.
"Xi was expected to have a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy within days of his Moscow visit, having not spoken to him since Russia’s invasion. That chat hasn’t yet materialized.
If or when it does, Zelenskiy would be within his rights to ask Xi if Putin actually listens to anyone," Bloomberg writes.
On March 25, Vladimir Putin said that a storage facility for Russian tactical nuclear weapons would be completed in Belarus by July 1.
The Institute for the Study of War reported that Putin announced the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus to frighten the West and reduce the effectiveness of Ukraine's counteroffensive.
National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said that the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus increases the level of rejection of Russia and Putin in Belarusian society. In turn, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the Presidential Office, noted that with this statement, Vladimir Putin admits to fear of losing the war.
The German Foreign Ministry criticized Russia's deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus and called it an "attempt to intimidate." The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to Russia's intentions to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus and demanded that the UN Security Council be convened.
On March 27, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that Beijing does not approve of Russia's intention to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.
March 29 US President Joe Biden says he is concerned about Vladimir Putin's decision to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus.