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Russia to Station Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Belarus

Sun 26 Mar 2023 | 11:54 AM
Israa Farhan

On Saturday, Russia's President Vladimir Putin said his country will deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, according to TASS state news agency.

Putin said he had reached an agreement with Belarusian President - and his closest regional ally - Alexander Lukashenko.

"We agreed with Lukashenko that we could place tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus without violating the nonproliferation regime," Putin said, according to the TASS report.

"There is nothing unusual here either: The United States has been doing this for decades. They have long placed their tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of their allies," the Radded.

Tactical nuclear weapons refer to those used for specific gains on the battlefield, and transferring the weapons would be the first time Russia has built them outside the country since the mid-1990s.

The announcement comes as the Battle of Bakhmut rages on, with senior Ukrainian military commanders claiming that the Kremlin's forces have been exhausted on the ground.

Putin mentioned that Lukashenko had long raised the issue of deploying tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus and that Russia had already deployed 10 aircraft in Belarus capable of carrying tactical nuclear weapons.

Belarus does not have nuclear weapons of its own, and Lukashenko has previously raised concerns about a possible future threat from neighboring Poland, a NATO member.

The Russian president noted that Russia will have completed the construction of a storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus by July 1, but did not say when the weapons would be transferred.

Putin said Moscow would not actually transfer control of the weapons to Minsk.