Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko confirmed that Russian tactical nuclear arms would be stationed in his country soon, with preparations already complete, according to Belarusian state news agency Belta.
In a statement, President Lukashenko said, “Everything is ready. I think we will have what we asked for in a few days, and even a little bit more.” Lukashenko added, “Why do we need them? To make sure not a single foreign soldier sets their foot on the Belarusian land again. God forbid that I have to make a decision to use these weapons. But there will be no hesitation in the event of an aggression against us.”
This move marks a historical shift, as it is the first deployment of Russia’s nuclear warheads outside its territory since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. President Putin has declared the intention to move the weapons to Belarus, which has served as a launch pad for Moscow’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Lukashenko also mentioned preparations to host longer-range strategic weapons but emphasized there was no immediate need as Moscow had yet to propose supplying these arms. He was quoted as saying, “What do I need strategic [missiles] like the Topols for? Although we are now preparing sites for these weapons as well. They [the Soviet-era sites] are all alive and well, except for one. So if we need to, we can at any moment [house them].”
Despite these developments, the United States say it has observed no signs of Russia preparing to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.