Russia moved ten aircraft capable of carrying tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus on Saturday, the news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. The deployment of a nuclear weapon in Belarus, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin, will not violate nuclear non-proliferation treaties.
#BREAKING Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday he would deploy tactical nuclear weapons in neighbouring Belarus, adding that the United States has been placing such arms on their allies’ territory “for decades”. pic.twitter.com/ghlH81RF8m
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) March 25, 2023
“We agreed with Lukashenko to place tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus without violating the nonproliferation regime,” Putin was quoted as saying by the news agency Tass.
According to Putin, the US has also stationed nuclear weapons on the territory of European allies. He further said that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has long advocated for the stationing of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, which borders Poland.
Russia will complete the construction of a tactical nuclear weapons storage facility in Belarus by July 1, and control of the weapons will not be transferred to Minsk, according to Putin.
The deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus came as the US imposed new sanctions on President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime for its continued support for Russia’s war in Ukraine. The sanctions also target Lukashenko’s anti-democracy crackdown.
The recently imposed restrictions targeted significant Belarusian manufacturers as well as Lukashenko’s personal benefits. His lavish Boeing 737 aircraft, which he uses for personal trips with his family and acquaintances, was specifically identified as a possession associated with Lukashenko, who had previously been subjected to personal sanctions.
The development comes as the battle between Russian and Ukrainian soldiers intensifies in the town of Bakhmut, with British military intelligence claiming that Russia is shifting to a defensive strategy in eastern Ukraine.
“The Bakhmut path is the most challenging. “The situation is being stabilised thanks to the titanic efforts of the defence forces,” Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi said in a Telegram post describing a phone call with Adm. Sir Tony Radakin, Britain’s chief of defence staff.
(With Inputs From Agencies)