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Lukashenko Unveils Process Underway To Move Russian Tactical Nuclear Arms to Belarus

May 26, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—An effort has already begun to move non-strategic nuclear weapons to Belarus from Russia, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said yesterday, according to a report in TASS. During a live broadcast on Russia’s TV Channel One, Lukashenko said that Russian President Vladimir Putin

“informed me that today he had signed a decree on our actions to store nuclear weapons in Belarus. He talked about a particular document. A decision was made to implement what was said in a verbal form. We needed to prepare storage sites and so on. We did this and that is why the effort of moving nuclear munitions has begun.”

When asked about whether the non-strategic nuclear weapons were on Belarusian soil, Lukashenko replied: “Possibly. I will come and see.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov replied about Lukashenko’s statement today:

“We know that Belarus is facing very unfriendly, if not hostile, manifestations on the part of its neighboring states. We have heard very aggressive statements against Belarus, we have also heard official statements declaring the intention to interfere in the domestic affairs of Belarus. All this, of course, allows us to conclude that Belarus is in a very hostile environment. All this requires us to further develop our allied relations and strengthen these relations, which implies various areas, including further development of relations in the military sphere. This is exactly what we are doing.”

Peskov did not answer whether the process of transferring the weapons from Russia to Belarus had actually begun, replying only, “I’ve said everything I wanted to say on this subject.”

While the weapons transfer has not been confirmed, the process had been set into motion starting in late March, when President Putin first announced that Minsk requested the presence of Russian tactical nuclear weapons. According to TASS at the time, “As the Russian leader indicated, the construction of storage facilities for tactical nuclear weapons will be completed in Belarus by July 1.”

In Washington, the U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller responded, predictably in a May 25 media briefing that this was “the latest example of [Russia’s] irresponsible behavior.” However, Miller went on to say: “But in response to this report, I’ve just added we have seen no reason to adjust our strategic nuclear posture or any indication that Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon.”

In an interview with Russian media on May 26, RT quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov as affirming that Moscow has not introduced any changes to its nuclear doctrine, and that “there have been no changes in our approach to this complex and alarming issue.”

“Our enemies are cynically speculating on this issue and trying to attribute to Russia non-existent intentions to use nuclear weapons in connection with what is happening in Ukraine,” RT quoted Ryabkov as saying.

Ryabkov again clarified that Russia’s nuclear doctrine allows for the use of tactical weapons in the case of an existential threat to the existence of the state, even if such aggression is carried out using conventional weaponry. However, he stressed: “I would not project all this onto what is happening in Ukraine and around it.”

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