The President of Belarus announced that Russia has begun to transfer nuclear weapons to his country. The plan was presented in March by Vladimir Putin.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Thursday that Russia had begun transferring nuclear weapons to his country, following an announcement made in March by Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
“The transfer of nuclear payloads has already started,” Lukashenko said.responding to a journalist’s question in a video broadcast by the unofficial channel of the Belarusian Presidency on the Telegram platform, Pul Pervogo.
Russia, for its part, has not yet ruled on the arms transfer.
Russia and Belarus signed an agreement on Thursday that formalizes the procedures for the shipment and installation of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarusian territory, maintaining, however, arms control in Moscow.
In March, Vladimir Putin indicated that he had already agreed with his Belarusian counterpart Moscow on the intention to install short-range tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. The signing of the agreement comes at a time when Russia is preparing to face a long-awaited counteroffensive by Ukraine.
Both Russian and Belarusian officials see the move as motivated by hostility from the West, which itself has already criticized the decision. Putin indicated that the construction of storage facilities for tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus will be completed on July 1. The decision was also criticized by the leader of the Belarusian opposition in exile, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.
“We have to do everything possible to stop Putin’s plan to install nuclear weapons in Belarus, as this will ensure Russia’s control over Belarus for years to come,” Tikhanovskaya told the Associated Press (AP) news agency. “This will further endanger the security of Ukraine and the whole of Europe”added.
Russia and Belarus have an alliance agreement under which the Kremlin subsidizes the Belarusian economy through loans and discounts on Russian oil and gas. Russia used Belarusian territory as a starting point for the invasion from neighboring Ukraine and maintains a contingent of troops and weapons in the country.
Alexander Lukashenko also said Thursday that he is prepared for a possible invasion of Belarusian territory, adding that he was “aware” of rumors of a possible revolt against the Minsk regime.
Lukashenko was responding to comments made this Wednesday by a senior Polish official who warned about the possible preparation, soon, of an uprising in Belarus.
“Unfortunately, they don’t pay attention to my words. You probably know what I said months ago (…). We have known this for a long time and we are preparing for it,” Lukashenko was quoted as saying by the state news agency Belta.
In this regard, the Belarusian leader assured that the authorities “they are on the trail” of possible instigators.
“In fact, we know who they are, we know where they are, and we know their names. We are ready. Let them in,” Lukashenko challenged.