Espreso. Global

Nuclear weapons deployment in Belarus is adequate response to militarization of Eastern Europe - Lukashenko

15 August, 2023 Tuesday

Lukashenko said that the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory is an adequate response to the accelerated militarization of Eastern Europe and the growing military activity of the United States and NATO

This is stated in the greeting sent by Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko to the participants of the XI Moscow International Security Conference.

"Remaining a consistent supporter of peace and security, fulfilling previously assumed international obligations, the Republic of Belarus, together with its partners, as well as within the framework of the Union State of Belarus and Russia, is making every effort to strengthen cooperation in combating transnational challenges and threats of various kinds. By deploying tactical nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory, we are responding adequately to the accelerated militarization of Eastern Europe and the growing military activity of the United States and NATO," he said.

At the same time, Lukashenko emphasized that this does not cancel the peace initiatives put forward by the Belarusian side in the interests of restarting the dialogue on European and global security on equal terms for the good of the entire planet.

Nuclear weapons in Belarus: what is known

Since mid-March, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been blackmailing the world with nuclear weapons and has stated that a storage facility for Russian tactical nuclear weapons will be completed in Belarus by July 1.

Instead, the Institute for the Study of War reported that Putin announced the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus to frighten the West and reduce the effectiveness of Ukraine's counteroffensive. According to experts, the announcement of the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus has nothing to do with the risk of nuclear war, which remains extremely low. Thus, Putin is only trying to exploit Western fears of nuclear escalation.

The day after Putin's statement, NSDC Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said that the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus increases the level of rejection of Russia and Putin in Belarusian society. In turn, Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser to the head of the Presidential Office, said that with this statement, Vladimir Putin admits to fear of losing the war.

The German Foreign Ministry criticized Russia's deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus and called it an "attempt to intimidate."

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has noted that the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus could lead to a catastrophe.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine responded to Russia's intentions to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus and demanded that the UN Security Council be convened. It also called on Belarusian society to prevent Russia's crimes on their territory, as this would further turn the country into a hostage of Moscow and have catastrophic consequences in the future.

In April, the Russian Defense Ministry announced the transfer of Iskanders, which can carry nuclear weapons, to Belarus. Towards the end of May, the Belarusian army conducted exercises involving the use of Iskander missiles.

On June 14, Lukashenko claimed that nuclear weapons from Russia started to arrive in Belarus, but clarified it would only be used if Belarus faced a direct threat.

Also, on June 16, Russian leader Vladimir Putin  announced that they had transferred some of their nuclear arsenal to Belarus, with the rest to follow by the end of the year.

The head of Ukraine's Main Intelligence Directorate, Kyrylo Budanov, noted that Russia has not yet moved a single nuclear warhead to Belarus. He is convinced that Russia will not use nuclear weapons in a war against Ukraine.

On June 27, Polish President Andrzej Duda said that the presence of Wagner and Prigozhin PMCs in Belarus is an important security issue and requires a strong response from NATO.

On June 28, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that a clear message had been sent to Moscow and Minsk that "NATO exists to defend every ally."

The Presidents of Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, Andrzej Duda, Egils Levits and Gitanas Nausėda, wrote a letter to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and NATO partners calling for measures to counter the threats posed by Russia's aggressive actions and the changing situation in Belarus.

Poland's Deputy Minister of National Defense Marcin Ociepa believes that Russia's use of nuclear weapons is unlikely, but that this option cannot be completely ruled out.

Subsequently, Chinese leader Xi Jinping personally warned Putin against using nuclear weapons in Ukraine, as China does not want to completely spoil relations with the EU.

Later, on July 31, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that a hypothetical withdrawal of Russian tactical nuclear weapons from the territory of Belarus would be possible "only if the United States and NATO abandon their destructive course of deliberately undermining the security of Russia and Belarus."

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