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Lukashenko offers nuclear weapons to countries willing to join Russia and Belarus

2023-05-29 07:59:00, Kosova & Bota CNA
Lukashenko offers nuclear weapons to countries willing to join Russia and
The President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has claimed that nations willing to "join Russia and Belarus" will be given nuclear weapons, days after confirming that the transfer of some tactical nuclear weapons from Moscow to Minsk had begun.

Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, made the comments in an interview Sunday on state-run Russia 1 channel.

During the interview, Lukashenko said, "no one has a problem with Kazakhstan and other countries having the same close relations that we have with the Russian Federation."

"It's very simple," he added. "Join Belarus and Russia. That's it: there will be nuclear weapons for everyone."

Signed in 1999, the Agreement on the Establishment of the Union State of Belarus and the Treaty of Russia created a legal basis for a broad alliance that included economic security, information, technology, agriculture and the border among others between the two countries, according to the website of the government of Belarus.

It was not clear how broad Lukashenko's invitation to join the State of the Union was, and he offered no other specifics.

But his comments about giving nuclear weapons to like-minded allies are likely to heighten concerns at a time of growing global proliferation and as Moscow threatens the world with its atomic arsenal as its war against Ukraine falters.

On Thursday, the Belarusian autocrat said the transfer of some tactical nuclear weapons from Russia to Belarus had begun, following an agreement signed by Moscow and Minsk.

"It was necessary to prepare storage places, and so on. We did all that. Therefore, the movement of nuclear weapons began," Lukashenko said, according to the state-run Belta news agency.

He also pledged the safety of those weapons, saying, “That's not even up for debate. Don't worry about nukes. We are responsible for this. These are serious matters. Everything will be fine here.”

Putin has said Russia will retain control over any tactical nuclear weapons stationed in Belarus and compared the move to Washington's practice of deploying nuclear weapons in Europe to keep host countries, such as Germany, from violating their commitments as a power. non-nuclear.

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 weapons of mass destruction stationed there to Russia.

 

Since invading Ukraine more than a year ago, Putin has used escalating rhetoric on several occasions, warning of the "growing" threat of nuclear war and suggesting Moscow may abandon its "no first use" policy.

In March, Putin said Moscow would complete construction of a special storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus by early July and said Russia had already transferred to Belarus an Iskander short-range missile system, which can be set. with nuclear or conventional warheads.

Tactical nuclear weapons are smaller than strategic nuclear weapons – which can destroy entire cities – and are designed for use on a limited battlefield. However, their explosive yields are still sufficient to cause great destruction as well as radiation pollution.

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