Russia denies plans to move nukes

MOCOW, Russia, Sept. 3 (UPI) - Russia's foreign minister has denied any plans to move nuclear weapons to Belarus, adding that the matter is settled.

We do not have any plans of the kind, and the Foreign Ministry has (repeatedly) said this, reported Sergei Lavrov. Belarus's status is fixed by its Constitution, and that settles the matter, I hope.

Russia's ambassador to Belarus, Alexander Surikov, was cited as saying in late August that plans for deployment were not ruled out, but he has since said he was misinterpreted.

After an announcement by the United States in January that it was putting an anti-missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland to prevent possible strikes from rogue states, such as Iran and North Korea, the nuclear issue has become hot on the international agenda.

But Russia has condemned the plans by the United States as a threat to national security and a destabilizing factor for Europe.

Officials warned that Russia's response would be adequate and highly effective.