Putin To Deploy Tactical Nuclear Weapons In Belarus

Image copyright: Reuters [via The Guardian]

The Facts

  • 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.

  • 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.

The Spin

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.

Public figures in this story

Establishment split



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