How Will Russia Positioning Tactical Nukes in Belarus Impact the Ukraine War?
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, its western neighbor that sits to the north of Ukraine.
Real Danger or Empty Threat? Putin has previously issued nuclear threats in response to western nations’ support of Ukraine. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby indicated this development was another threat aimed at reducing western support of Ukraine, stating, “we have not seen any indication that he’s made good on this pledge or moved any nuclear weapons around. We’ve, in fact, seen no indication that he has any intention to use nuclear weapons, period, inside Ukraine.” However, Newsweek quoted Mark Voyger, former U.S. Army advisor, warning western nations to be “mindful of all these movements of the Russian leadership.”
Tactical Nukes: According to the Associated Press, tactical nukes are short-range nuclear weapons intended for use on battlefields. They are far smaller than long-range nuclear warheads, which AP states are “capable of obliterating whole cities.” United States intelligence reports Russia is in possession of roughly 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons.
Russia-Belarus Relationship: Belarus served as a staging ground for Russian forces at the start of the invasion. Russia’s failed advance to Kyiv in the initial days of the invasion began in Belarus, with troops pushing south into Ukraine before stalling. Newsweek credits the relationship between the countries to Belarus’s economic reliance on Russia and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko’s debt to Putin for saving his regime from toppling during pro-democratic protests in 2020.
Featured Coverage of this Story
From the LeftWhy does Russia want tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus?
The announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin that he intends to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus appears to be another attempt to raise the stakes in the conflict in Ukraine.
It follows Putin’s warnings that Moscow is ready to use “all available means,” to fend off attacks on Russian territory, a reference to its nuclear arsenal.
A look at Putin’s statement and its implications:
HOW DID PUTIN EXPLAIN HIS MOVE?
Putin said President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus has long urged Moscow to station its nuclear weapons...
From the RightWestern criticism won't stop Russia from plans to station nuclear weapons in Belarus
The Kremlin dismissed criticism from Western countries regarding Russia's decision to station nuclear weapons in Belarus.
Russian President Vladimir Putin made the announcement in an interview with Russian state media this week, explaining that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally, had agreed to the deployment, which prompted concerns from Western countries allied with Ukraine.
"Obviously, such a reaction cannot affect Russia’s plans," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday.
The Russian leader said the move was in response to the United Kingdom's decision to provide Ukraine with armor-piercing rounds...
From the CenterRussian Nukes in Belarus: Why Putin Is Escalating Again
Russian President Vladimir Putin is again reverting to his most effective card as his troops struggle to make significant headway on the devastated frontlines of Ukraine and as Kyiv prepares to turn its new Western weapons against Moscow's occupying forces.
The Russian president announced this weekend that Moscow would build storage facilities for tactical nuclear weapons—which are designed with a smaller yield and intended for battlefield rather than strategic use—in Belarus and train Belarusian pilots to deliver the warheads from their own Su-24 aircraft.
Putin gave no indication of when...
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