Russia plans to position tactical nuclear weapons in the vizinha Belarus, President Vladimir Putin declared on state television this Saturday (25).
Moscow will complete the construction of a special storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus at the beginning of July, Putin told state broadcaster Russia 1.
The Russian leader says that Moscow will transfer an Iskander short-range missile system – which can be equipped with nuclear or conventional warheads – to Belarus.
During the interview, Putin also said that Russia helped Belarus to convert 10 aircraft to make them capable of carrying tactical nuclear warheads. Russia will begin to recruit thirty pilots to fly the reconfigured aircraft at the beginning of next month, adding him.
The government of Belarus, located to the west of Russia, on the northern border of Ukraine, is among Moscow’s closest allies.
Belarus has not had nuclear weapons on its territory since the early 1990s. Shortly after gaining independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it agreed to transfer all Soviet-era mass destruction weapons positioned in the country to Russia.
Belarus helped Russia launch its initial invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, allowing Kremlin troops to enter the country from the north. There were fears during the conflict that Belarus was again used as a launching base for an offensive, or that Minsk’s own troops would join the conflict.
Putin also says that Moscow will maintain or control any of the tactical nuclear weapons that it plans to install in the neighboring country.
He compared the move to the practice of the United States positioning nuclear weapons in Europe. Washington maintains or controls over the weapons, preventing host countries – like Germany – from breaking their commitments as non-nuclear powers.
“We are not going to deliver or control nuclear weapons. The USA will not surrender to its allies. We are basically doing the same thing [os líderes dos EUA] We’ve been doing it for a decade,” Putin said.
Embora makes no guarantee that the Russian leader will continue with his plan to station weapons in Belarus, any nuclear signal from Putin will cause concern in the West.
Since invading Ukraine for more than a year, the Russian leader has used escalating rhetoric on several occasions, warning of the “growing” threat of nuclear war and suggesting that Moscow may abandon its “never use first” policy.
The United States has tried to make clear to Putin the consequences of any use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, including low-yield tactical devices.
Speaking in October, the president of the United States, Joe Biden, told Jake Tapper about CNN: “It would be irresponsible for me to talk about what we would or would not do”, in response to the nuclear use of Russia.
But Biden hinted at the possibility of a rapid escalation in events.
“Errors are made, or a miscalculation may occur, no one could be certain what would happen and what could end in Armageddon,” he said.
(Posted by Carolina Farias)
Source: CNN Espanol