Russia might put strategic nukes in Belarus, leader says
Share this

TALLINN – Russian strategic nuclear weapons might be deployed to Belarus along with part of Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Friday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced last week that his country intended to deploy tactical, comparatively short-range and small-yield nuclear weapons in Belarus.

The strategic nuclear weapons such as missile-borne warheads that Lukashenko mentioned during his state-of-the nation address would pose an even greater threat, if Moscow moves them to the territory of its neighbor and ally.

Belarus was a staging ground for Russian troops to launch their invasion of Ukraine a little over 13 months ago. Lukashenko, in office since 1994, delivered his annual address amid escalating tensions over the conflict in Ukraine.

Both he and Putin have alleged that Western powers want to ruin Russia and Belarus.

“Putin and I will decide and introduce here, if necessary, strategic weapons, and they must understand this, the scoundrels abroad, who today are trying to blow us up from inside and outside,” the Belarusian leader said. “We will stop at nothing to protect our countries, our state and their peoples.”

“We will protect our sovereignty and independence by any means necessary, including through the nuclear arsenal,” Lukashenko said . “Don’t say we will just be looking after them, and these are not our weapons. These are our weapons and they will contribute to ensuring sovereignty and independence.”

Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who was forced to leave Belarus under official pressure after challenging Lukashenko in the 2020 presidential election that the opposition and the West, denounced Lukashenko’s push for Russian nuclear weapons as a betrayal of national interests.

“The deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus put the lives of Belarusians in serious danger and turns our country into a potential target for strikes, including nuclear strikes at the whim of the two dictators,” Tsikhanouskaya told The Associated Press.

Earlier in the address, Lukashenko called for a cease-fire in Ukraine.

A truce must be announced without any preconditions, and all movement of troops and weapons must be halted, he said.

Belarus and Russia have intensified their military cooperation since the start of the Ukraine war. Moscow has kept its troops and weapons in Belarus, although no Belarusian troops have participated in the fighting.

Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan all relinquished Soviet nuclear weapons, which were left on their terrotories after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Under the so-called Budapest Memorandum that accompanied giving up the weapons, Russia, the United States and Britain agreed to respect the territorial integrity of those countries.

Ukraine has repeatedly complained that Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and the 2022 invasion violate that agreement.

Lukashenko said Friday that he did not want to lose his country’s nuclear weapons but was pressured into doing so by then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

Speaking about the possible deployment of Russian strategic nuclear weapons to Belarus in Friday’s speech, Lukashenko said that a week ago he ordered his military to immediately put the former base for Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles in order to make it ready for use. “It’s a highly technologically sophisticated structure,” he said.

“All the infrastructure has been created and is standing ready,” Lukashenko declared. “I’m sure that those measures will help sober up all those hawks across the ocean and their satellites for a long time ahead and force them to reckon with our people if they don’t understand different language.”


Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine:

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Share this
You May Also Like

Tampa Man, Lutz Woman Killed In Crash On Florida And Nebraska Ave.

Florida Highway Patrol, Source: TFP HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – Two people are…

Huddersfield Giants star set to be axed as Ian Watson prepares for 'cut-throat' calls

Watson wasn’t happy after watching his side thrashed by St Helens.

Nancy Grace Says ‘Natalee’s mother has never gotten justice’ as Joran van der Sloot Prepares for U.S. Extradition

Nancy Grace says the mother of missing Alabama teen, Natalee Holloway, will…

Florida Times-Union journalists, supporters rally in Downtown Jacksonville ahead of Tuesday strike

Florida Times-Union Guild workers are joining a wave of newsroom strikes across…

Martin Lewis fan makes £2,330 with one simple phone call says that if you want to move your money out of…

'It has been truly amazing:' Jacksonville native off to smooth sailing in first two years of service in Navy

Ensign Jaliya Wilson serves aboard the USS Wasp in the United States…

Survivors of deadly train crash in India recount trauma

BALASORE – Gura Pallay was watching another train pass by the one…

Moment angry motorcyclist revs his engine and drives through Just Stop Oil slow march

Moment angry motorcyclist revs his engine and drives through Just Stop Oil…

Utah school district bans Bible for ‘vulgarity or violence’

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Good Book is being treated like…

Anna Shay, fan favorite on ‘Bling Empire,’ dead at 62

LOS ANGELES – Anna Shay, an heiress, philanthropist and breakout star of…

Augusta family concerned after not hearing from missing man since April

RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office is requesting…

Britain's Got Talent's Malakai Bayoh fans rush to defend 'voice break' issue in Sunday's live final

Britain’s Got Talent singer Malakai Bayoh appeared to have an issue with…