Shmyhal added on Thursday that 900 historical and cultural sites in Ukraine were destroyed or damaged during the war, Xinhua news agency reported.
Condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus, the Group of Seven (G7) called it “unacceptable,” according to the statement released by G7.
“Condemning President Putin’s announcement to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, the G7 Foreign Ministers reaffirmed that Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric is unacceptable,” the statement read. This statement came after the meeting between G7 Foreign Ministers in Karuizawa, Nagano.
“Furthermore, they concurred on reinforcing coordination to prevent and respond to the evasion of sanctions as well as third-party weapon supply to Russia,” it added.
Earlier, Putin made a statement about plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in the territory of Russia’s neighbour and ally, reported ABC News.
Putin has said the construction of storage facilities for tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus will be completed by July 1, adding that Russia has helped modernise Belarusian warplanes, making them capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
The two neighbours have an agreement envisioning close economic, political and military ties. Russia used Belarusian territory as a staging ground for invading Ukraine and has maintained a contingent of troops and weapons there.
Belarus shares a 1,250-kilometre border with NATO members Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
Tactical nuclear weapons, which are intended to destroy enemy troops and weapons on the battlefield, have a relatively short range and a much lower yield compared with nuclear warheads fitted to long-range strategic missiles that are capable of obliterating whole cities.
The deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus would put them closer to potential targets in Ukraine and NATO members in Eastern and Central Europe.
The Russian Ambassador to Belarus, too, reaffirmed that Moscow will deploy tactical nuclear weapons near Belarus’ border with NATO countries amid increasing tension with the US over the Ukraine war, reported Los Angeles Times.
Ambassador Boris Gryzlov, in a broadcast late Sunday by Belarusian state television, said the Russian nuclear weapons will be “moved up close to the Western border of our union state” but did not give any precise location.
“It will expand our defence capability, and it will be done regardless of all the noise in Europe and the United States,” he said in a reference to Western criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision.