Vladimir Putin will have tactical nuclear weapons stationed in Belarus and Russian troops will train Belarusian soldiers and will build a “special storage facility.”
Tass news agency quoted Putin saying that storing the weapons in Belarus will not violate the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), but this move does represent Russia’s most clearest sign yet of a nuclear threat.
Putin said, “We have already handed over to Belarus our well-known, very effective Iskander complex, it can also be a carrier.
“From April 3, we will start training the crew and on July 1 we will complete the construction of a special storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus.”
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TASS also quoted the Russian leader as saying, “We agreed with [Belarusian president] Lukashenko that we would place tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus without violating the non-proliferation regime.”
Both the Russian Federation and Belarus are signatories of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
This is the first time Russia has stationed nuclear weapons outside the mainland since the mid-1990s.
Hans Kristensen, director of the nuclear information project at the Federation of American Scientists, said, “This is part of Putin’s game to try to intimidate NATO … because there is no military utility from doing this in Belarus as Russia has so many of these weapons and forces inside Russia.”
Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, expressed his concerns, that “The Kremlin took Belarus as a nuclear hostage. This is a step towards the internal destabilisation of the country.”
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons said in a statement, “In the context of the war in Ukraine, the likelihood of miscalculation or misinterpretation is extremely high.
“Sharing nuclear weapons makes the situation much worse and risks catastrophic humanitarian consequences.”