| 15 April 2024, Monday |

Belarus to get Russian tactical nuclear weapons ‘in days’, says Lukashenko

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko claimed on Tuesday that Russian tactical nuclear weapons will be physically installed on Belarusian soil “in a few days,” and that he possessed the infrastructure to host longer-range missiles if necessary.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Russia, which would maintain control of the tactical nuclear weapons, will begin deploying them in close ally Belarus on July 7-8, when specific storage facilities for them are complete.

The deployment will be Moscow’s first move of such warheads – shorter-range less powerful nuclear weapons that could potentially be used on the battlefield – outside Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union.

The step is being watched closely by the United States and its allies as well as by China, which has repeatedly cautioned against the use of nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war.

Lukashenko, a staunch Putin ally, was cited by Belta as saying that Belarus was now ready to host the warheads.

“Everything is ready. I think we will have what we asked for in a few days, and even a little bit more,” he was quoted as saying.

Putin announced in March he had agreed to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, pointing to the U.S deployment of such weapons in a host of European countries over many decades.

The United States has criticised Putin’s decision but has said it has no intention of altering its own stance on strategic nuclear weapons and has not seen any signs that Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon.

  • Reuters