Russia to station nuclear weapons in Belarus, Honduras severs ties with Taiwan

Yahoo Finance’s Kevin Cirilli joins the Live show to discuss the top political headlines coming out of Washington, D.C., which include, Russia stationing nuclear weapons in Belarus, the approval of President Biden’s disaster declaration for Mississippi, and Honduras severing ties with Taiwan.

Video Transcript

- Got a quick check of the markets for you now sponsored by Tasty Trade. We've got stocks hanging onto gains here. The NASDAQ's gains fading a little bit. But on the whole really remaining fairly steady today with financials in the driver's seat in terms of leading the gains today.

Well, Russia's President Vladimir Putin announcing late Saturday that the Kremlin will station nuclear weapons in Belarus. He said the move would counter the United States' deployment of nuclear weapons in different European countries and noted the Washington has nuclear weapons in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey. So far, Poland's European Union affairs minister urged the West to stay calm over Belarus's nuclear weapons placement. For more on how the White House is responding, let's get to Yahoo Finance contributor Kevin Cirilli. Kevin, good morning. Good to see you.

KEVIN CIRILLI: Good morning, Julie. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby telling CBS News over the weekend that they do not believe that Russia is going to deploy a nuclear weapon in Ukraine based upon intelligence reports that they have received. Now, NATO putting out a statement over the weekend saying, quote, "Russia's rhetoric is dangerous and irresponsible. NATO is vigilant, and we are closely monitoring the situation. We have not seen any changes in Russia's nuclear posture that would lead us to adjust our own. We are committed to protect and defend all NATO allies." So from the White House perspective, from NATO's perspective, right now, this is just a lot of irresponsible talk coming from Moscow.

- Let's stay with the White House for a second. President Biden has approved a disaster declaration for Mississippi, granting federal aid to supplement recovery efforts that are already underway as well after tornadoes devastated the area. What more can we expect from the White House in response?

KEVIN CIRILLI: Search and recovery efforts still very much underway after these horrific storms devastated the region, leaving 26 dead and dozens more injured. And of course, hundreds more without power. President Biden declaring a state of emergency and assuring those folks impacted by these devastating storms that they will receive the federal funding that they need.

FEMA, the President has said, he's talked with the leaders of FEMA. He's talked with the governors, the local officials on the ground there and assuring those impacted that they will not leave, the federal government will not leave until this situation reaches recovery. Yeah. And indeed, it's quite a devastating situation.

One more topic that you're watching there in DC, Kev. Honduras ending its more than eight years of diplomatic relations with Taiwan, choosing to establish ties with China instead. What are the geopolitical implications for this new partnership? I mean, it's quite interesting, as we see, really geopolitical positioning around China and the US as of late.

KEVIN CIRILLI: Well, three things. First and foremost, the Taiwanese are saying that this is just dollar diplomacy and that Honduras sold out to the Chinese Communist Party for $2.5 billion. Secondly, from China's perspective, they're saying that this is a part of a trend in the region of deteriorating support for Taiwan. Now, in that region, Taiwan only has 12 countries. It was previously 13 backing them.

Now, thirdly is the US and the West totally rejects that characterization from the Chinese Communist Party. President Biden, Republicans, Democrats have all said that Taiwan is an incredibly important Democratic ally in the region. And they've noted, as we should note, that President Biden has said that the United States would defend Taiwan economically, and there's been some question even about militarily.

I do want to reemphasize that the United States Congress has passed bipartisan legislation that would modernize the Taiwanese Relations Act from several decades ago. That would provide military assistance. And similar way, that the US has backed Ukraine, for example, as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

So again, dollar diplomacy on display from the Chinese Communist Party. The Taiwanese pushing back against that. And they're saying that for $2.5 billion, this is going to come with strings attached. And they're using Africa countries as an example, an illustration of many African countries that had sold out to China and as a result of that now face incredible economic pressures as a result of their economic ties with China.

- All right. Yahoo Finance contributor tracking all things domestic and international. Kevin Cirilli. Thanks so much for breaking this all down for us. Appreciate it.