Russia advances deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus

  • Russia agrees with Belarus on nuclear weapons storage issue
  • Belarusian President Lukashenko says weapons are on the move
  • Washington denounces plans to deploy Russian weapons

MOSCOW, May 25 (Reuters) – Russia advanced plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus on Thursday, but the Belarusian leader said the warheads had already been moved and the Kremlin deployed tactical nuclear weapons outside Russia. It will be the first time since the collapse of Russia in 1991. soviet union.

The State Department condemned the deployment plan, but said the United States would not change its position on strategic nuclear weapons and that there was no indication that Russia was preparing to use nuclear weapons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the United States and its allies have been fighting a growing proxy war against Russia since the Kremlin chief sent troops to Ukraine 15 months ago.

The plan for nuclear deployment Putin made the announcement in an interview with state television on March 25.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Putin’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said during a meeting with the Belarusian Defense Minister in Minsk that “essentially the whole Western world is waging an undeclared war against our country.” .

Shoigu said Western powers were doing everything they could to “prolong and intensify the armed conflict in Ukraine.”

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said tactical nuclear weapons were already on the move according to orders signed by Putin, but there was no confirmation from the Kremlin itself.

“The transfer of nuclear weapons has already begun,” Lukashenko told reporters in Moscow, where he was attending meetings with other former Soviet leaders.

Asked if the weapons were already in Belarus, he said: “Maybe. I’ll check when I get back.”

storage of nuclear weapons

Shoigu said the document he was signing in Minsk was about the process of storing tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller described the plan as “the latest example of irresponsible behavior seen from Russia since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine over a year ago.”

Miller reiterated US government warnings that the use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons in conflict would have “grave consequences,” but did not specify the consequences.

“I would like to add that there is no reason to adjust the strategic nuclear posture or any indication that Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons,” Miller told reporters.

Putin has repeatedly warned that Russia, which has more nuclear weapons than any other country, will do whatever it takes to defend itself, calling the war in Ukraine a battle for Russia’s survival against aggressive Western powers. positioned in

The U.S. and its allies want Ukraine to defeat Russian forces on the battlefield, but deny they want to destroy Russia, suggesting that the Ukraine war is somehow linked to post-Soviet NATO expansion. also denies.

Belarus shares borders with three NATO member states: Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. Russia will continue to control its weapons.

Superiority of Russian Tactical Nuclear Weapons

Tactical nuclear weapons are used for tactical gain on the battlefield and are usually less powerful than strategic nuclear weapons designed to destroy US and Russian cities.

Regarding tactical nuclear weapons, Russia has a numerical advantage over the United States and the NATO military alliance. The United States believes Russia has about 2,000 such operational tactical warheads.

The United States has about 200 tactical nuclear weapons, half of them at bases in Europe.

Shoigu said Iskander-M missiles, which can carry conventional or nuclear warheads, have been handed over to the Belarusian military and some Su-25 aircraft have been modified for possible nuclear weapons use.

“Belarusian soldiers are receiving the necessary training,” Shoigu said, according to the ministry.

The US says the world faces the most serious nuclear danger since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis after President Putin’s remarks during the Ukraine conflict, but Moscow claims the US position has been misunderstood. are doing.

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, signed by the Soviet Union, states that no nuclear-weapon state can transfer nuclear weapons or their technology to non-nuclear-weapon states, but it does allow the deployment of nuclear weapons across borders, but the control of them.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Mark Trevelyan. Additional reporting by Simon Lewis.Edited by Peter Graf, Hugh Lawson, Ron Popesky, Grant McCool

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Guy Falconbridge

thomson Reuters

Guy is the Moscow bureau chief, covering Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Before Moscow, Guy covered Brexit coverage as London bureau chief (2012-2022). On the night of Brexit, his team delivered one of Reuters’ historic victories and was the first to break Brexit news to the world and financial markets. Guy graduated from his School of Economics in London and started his career as an intern at Bloomberg. He has been covering the former Soviet Union for over 14 years of his life. He speaks fluent Russian. Contact: +447825218698

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