Russian President says Russia will deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans on Saturday to station tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus, a warning to the West as it steps up military support for Ukraine.
Russia will station tactical nuclear weapons in neighbouring Belarus, President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday, marking the first time since the mid-1990s that Moscow will have based such arms outside the country.
Putin made the announcement on Saturday as tensions grow with the West over the Ukraine war and as some Russian commentators speculate about possible nuclear strikes.
Tactical nuclear weapons are intended for use on the battlefield and have a short range and a low yield compared with much more powerful nuclear warheads fitted to long-range missiles. Russia plans to maintain control over those it sends to Belarus, and construction of storage facilities for them will be completed by July 1, Putin said.
He didn’t say how many nuclear weapons Russia would keep in Belarus. The U.S. government believes Russia has about 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons, which include bombs that can be carried by tactical aircraft, warheads for short-range missiles and artillery rounds.
Putin argued that by deploying its tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, Russia was following the lead of the United States, noting that the US has nuclear weapons based in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.