Moscow and Minsk have signed an agreement on deploying tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, statements from both countries’ defense ministries say.
At a bilateral meeting in the Belarusian capital, the defense ministers of Russia and Belarus, Sergei Shoigu and Viktor Khrenin, signed documents defining the procedure for storing Russian non-strategic nuclear weapons in a specialized facility in Belarus, Ukraine's northern neighbor.
Shoigu said that the Belarusian side received the Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system, capable of using missiles not only in conventional but also in nuclear equipment.
“Part of the Belarusian aircraft has been converted for the possible use of nuclear weapons. The servicemen have undergone appropriate training,” Shoigu added.
“The Republic of Belarus is interested in the further development of strategic allied relations with the Russian Federation in the military sphere,” Khrenin told Shoigu, as cited by the Belarusian press service.
Some background: Belarus has been one of Russia’s most loyal allies since Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine last year.
Lukashenko raised the possibility of Russia placing strategic nuclear weapons in Belarus during a national address in March, while baselessly accusing Western countries of “preparing to invade” Belarus and “destroy” it.
Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya told CNN at the time of the initial talks that Russia’s decision to station tactical nuclear weapons in its neighbor “aims to subjugate Belarus.”