Russia will station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, Russian President Putin said the move would not violate nuclear non-proliferation agreements and compared it to the US stationing its weapons in Europe, according to Russian state media. Moscow would not be transferring control of its arms to Minsk, he added. The Associated Press has the story:
Putin: Russia will station nukes in Belarus
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans on Saturday to station tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus.
Putin said the plan was in response to Britain’s decision this past week to provide Ukraine with armor-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium. Russia falsely claimed these rounds have nuclear components.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has long asked for the weapons, Putin said, speaking in an interview on Russian state television.
He said construction of storage facilities for the weapons in Belarus would be completed by July 1.
Russia used the territory of Belarus as a staging ground to send troops into Ukraine, and Moscow and Minsk have maintained close military ties.
The Belarusian regime is a firm Kremlin ally and supporter of the invasion of Ukraine.
President Putin told Russian state television on Saturday that Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko had long raised the issue of stationing tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.
“There is nothing unusual here either,” he said. “Firstly, the United States has been doing this for decades. They have long deployed their tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of their allied countries.”
Russia will have completed the construction of a storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus by 1 July, President Putin added.
A small number of Iskander tactical missile systems, which can be used to launch nuclear weapons, have already been transferred to Belarus, he said.