Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus, during a meeting in Moscow in February.
Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus, during a meeting in Moscow in February.SPUTNIK (via REUTERS)

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced this Saturday an agreement with Belarus for the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in the territory of that country, which shares a border with Ukraine. “There is nothing extraordinary here. First, the US has been doing it for decades. It placed its tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of its allied countries, the NATO countries, in Europe a long time ago. If my memory serves me correctly, in six countries: Germany, Turkey, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Greece, ”he assured in statements to public television.

Putin stressed that this agreement does not violate Russia’s obligations on nuclear non-proliferation and announced that on April 3 the training of the Belarusian military will begin and on July 1 the construction of a silo to place said weapons in the neighboring country will have been completed. “We don’t give them up. The United States does not give them to its allies either, ”he added, specifying that Moscow has already modernized the planes of the Belarusian Air Force to carry these weapons.

Response to UK decision

He acknowledged that the trigger for the announcement was the decision of the United Kingdom to supply the Ukrainian army with depleted uranium ammunition, although London assures that it is not a nuclear weapon. “Anyway, that is related to nuclear technology. It is something obvious”, Putin replied today. Although, straight away, Putin recalled that the Belarusian president, Alexandr Lukashenko, had long ago requested the deployment of this type of weapon on the soil of the former Soviet republic. He recalled that Moscow had already supplied to Minsk Iskander tactical missiles and that these are also capable of carrying nuclear charges. Ukraine has accused Minsk on numerous occasions of being an accomplice in the current military campaign, although Lukashenko hides behind the militarization of its borders by NATO.

The Russian leader acknowledged that the British ammunition is not considered a weapon of mass destruction, but it is a “most dangerous” weapon, especially since it creates a highly polluting radioactive cloud after impact. “I must say that Russia, of course, has what to answer. Without exaggeration, we have hundreds of thousands, hundreds of thousands of those shells. We have not used them yet, ”he noted. In turn, he admitted that Western weapons represent“ a threat ”to Russia, but warned that it will only prolong the conflict and“ only lead to a great tragedy, nothing more ”.

Borrell: “another escalation of the conflict”

The high representative of Foreign Policy of the European Union (EU), Josep Borrell, also stated this Saturday that the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus represents “another escalation of the conflict”.

From Santo Domingo, where he is participating in the Ibero-American Summit, Borrell said that the deployment announced today by Russian President Vladimir Putin is also “another sign of the collaboration of the dictatorial regime of Belarus with Russia.”

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