Putin To Deploy Tactical Nuclear Weapons In Belarus

    Putin To Deploy Tactical Nuclear Weapons In Belarus
    Last updated Mar 26, 2023
    Image credit: Reuters [via The Guardian]


    • On Saturday, Russia reached an agreement with Belarus — which shares a long border with Ukraine — to station tactical nuclear weapons on the latter's territory. Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin argued the deal would not violate international obligations under nuclear non-proliferation agreements.[1]
    • Further, the Russian president said that Moscow had already transferred an Iskander short-range missile system — which can be fitted with nuclear warheads — to Belarus, and the construction of a special storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons is expected to be completed in the neighboring country by early July.[2]
    • Putin claimed the nuclear weapons to be stationed in Belarus would remain under Russian control. "The United States has been doing this for decades. They deployed their tactical nuclear weapons long ago on the territories of their allies, NATO countries, in Europe. We have agreed [with Belarus] that we will do the same," he said.[3]
    • This comes days after Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow, during which Russia and China issued a joint statement saying "all nuclear powers must not deploy their nuclear weapons beyond their national territories, and they must withdraw all nuclear weapons deployed abroad."[4]
    • It will be the first time since the mid-1990s that Russia will station nuclear weapons outside the country. The US has an estimated 100 nuclear weapons — airborne gravity bombs — across five European countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, and Turkey. Moscow has 5,977 nuclear weapons that can strike a target anywhere in the world; the US has 5,428.[5]


    Anti-Russia narrative

    The world must not take Putin's nuclear rhetoric lightly. The situation is becoming increasingly dangerous and frightening. Terming the Russian president too predictable may backfire. While Putin has made nuclear threats after invading Ukraine several times, this is the first time he has announced a plan to station nuclear weapons along Ukraine's border. Although there is no guarantee that Putin will follow through with his plan to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus, the West must counteract the Kremlin's nuclear blackmail before it results in catastrophic humanitarian consequences.

    Pro-Russia narrative

    Strangely, the world silently approves Washington's practice of deploying nuclear weapons in Europe to keep host countries from breaking their commitments as non-nuclear powers but starts jumping to conclusions the moment Russia follows the same path. Nonetheless, this is not a bluff. Putin is committed to using all the means to protect Russia and its people. The probability of nuclear war will remain extremely high as long as NATO continues to deliver large volumes of weapons, including shells made with depleted uranium, to Ukraine that pose an existential threat to Russians.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 2% chance that Russia will detonate a nuclear weapon in Ukraine before 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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