Putin says Russia will deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus

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The Russian president says the deal with his Belarusian counterpart will not violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow has entered into an agreement with neighboring Belarus to deploy strategic nuclear weapons on its territory.

Putin’s announcement came on Saturday amid rising tensions with the West over the Ukraine war and speculation by some Russian commentators about possible nuclear strikes.

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The deal with Belarus would not violate a nuclear non-proliferation agreement, Putin said, adding that the United States had deployed nuclear weapons on the territory of its European allies for decades.

“We agreed that we will do the same – without violating our obligations, without violating our international obligations on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons,” Putin said.


Putin told state television that Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko had long raised the issue of deploying tactical nuclear weapons in his country, which borders NATO member Poland.

Russia will have completed construction of a storage facility for strategic nuclear weapons in Belarus by July 1, Putin said, adding that Russia will not actually transfer control of the weapons to Minsk.

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The Russian President said that Russia has already deployed 10 aircraft capable of carrying tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus and transferred several Iskander tactical missile systems, which can be used to launch nuclear weapons.

The US – the world’s other nuclear superpower – reacted cautiously to Putin’s statement, with a senior administration official saying there were no signs Moscow plans to use its nuclear weapons.

“We see no reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture nor any indication Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons. We remain committed to the collective defense of the NATO alliance,” the official said.

Putin also said on Saturday that Kiev would deploy depleted uranium ammunition if it received such weapons from the West. His comments came after a British announcement that it would supply these anti-tank shells to Ukraine.

Asked how Moscow would respond if Western countries provided Ukraine with depleted uranium shells, Putin said Russia has a large amount of weapons.

“Of course Russia has what it needs to respond,” Putin said in an interview on Russian television. “Without exaggeration, we have hundreds of thousands of such shells. We haven’t used them yet.”

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) called Putin’s announcement an extremely dangerous escalation.

“In the context of the war in Ukraine, the potential for miscalculation or misinterpretation is very high. Sharing nuclear weapons greatly worsens the situation and risks catastrophic humanitarian consequences,” he said on Twitter.

Putin announced last month that Moscow would suspend its participation in New START, the last remaining arms control treaty between Russia and the United States, the world’s two major nuclear powers.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has slammed Russia for suspending the nuclear arms treaty, saying it marks the end of Europe’s post-Cold War arms control architecture.

Putin did so after Moscow suspended New START-mandated US inspections of its military sites in August.

Belarus is closely associated with Russia. Longtime ruler Lukashenko, whose re-election as president in 2020 is not recognized by the West, is dependent on Moscow militarily, politically and economically.

At the start of the all-out invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, some Russian units entered through Belarusian territory.

Putin says Russia will deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus

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