- Putin told state media on Saturday that he was planning to store nuclear weapons in Belarus.
- He said “tactical” supplies will be housed in storage facilities to be built by July.
- Belarus supported the invasion of Ukraine by allowing Russian forces to invade from its southern border.
In his most decisive nuclear message since he launched his invasion of Ukraine 13 months ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin told state media that he plans to store tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus. Told.
Belarus, Russia’s ally and Ukraine’s neighbor, supported the invasion by allowing Russian forces to enter Ukraine through its southern border. Putin told state television Russia 1 that he plans to build a new storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons in the allies, which is expected to be completed by July 1. CNN report.
“There is nothing unusual here either. First, the United States has been doing this for decades. They have been deploying tactical nuclear weapons on allied territory for a long time.” Reuters President Putin said:
NPR A US official said the country would “monitor the impact” of Putin’s announcement, according to reports.
Putin has been making veiled nuclear threats since the start of Russia’s unilateral war in Ukraine, but his recent statements are a notable escalation. While vowing to defend Russia’s “territorial integrity,” he made a veiled reference to nuclear weapons, stressing that his words were “not a bluff.”
“This is a very important move.” Reuters Nikolai Sokol, Senior Fellow of the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, said: “Russia has always been very proud that it did not have nuclear weapons outside its territory. So now, yes, they are trying to change that. It is a big change.”
Belarus is largely seen as a Russian puppet state, insiders have previously reported, and the country’s president, Alexander Lukashenko, was considered one of Putin’s closest allies. , has grown stronger since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.
Leaked 2021 documents from Putin’s executive branch, obtained last month by a group of European journalists from news outlets across the continent, show that the Russian leader has plans to annex Belarus by 2030. showed that there is plan at all.
A Kremlin representative did not immediately respond to an insider’s request for comment.