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Russia to Station Nuclear Weapons in Belarus

NATO members on alert after Putin announces decision to place nuclear weapons in Belarus.  


On March 25th, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his intention to place nuclear weapons in Belarus. This could have come as retaliation to the United Kingdom announcing it would send depleted uranium shells to Ukrainian soldiers fighting the Russian invasion. Depleted uranium shells have been found to cause various health problems such as kidney failure and skin irritation. 


Sergej Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, accused the British government of readying themselves “to violate international humanitarian law as in 1999 in Yugoslavia.” Lavrov has been very vocal about the dangers the West will experience if they continue to oppose Russia’ invasion. Alongside his initial accusation, he stated “there is no doubt this will end badly for London.” 


According to Russian State media, Putin’s decision to move nuclear weapons to Belarus would not violate non-proliferation agreements. US sources have alleged that there is no evidence that Putin has any intention of utilising the arms and reaffirmed their commitment to protecting all of their NATO allies. The BBC recalls that this will be the first time since the 1990s that Russia has stationed nuclear weapons outside of its own borders. 


Putin spoke on the issue and exclaimed that, “On July 1st we are finishing construction of a special storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.” In a report by Tass, Putin confirmed that the deal had been reached with Aleksander Lukashenko.


Putin has seemingly justified his decision by referencing the continued efforts of the United States to encroach on Russian sovereignty. Putin argued, “the United States has been doing this for decades.” Further commenting on the US using the territory of their allied countries to deploy nuclear arms.  


Hans Kristensen, Director of Nuclear Information at the Federation of American Scientists argued that the move is simply “intimidation tactics” from Russia as there is limited strategic benefit in shifting nuclear weapons. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has argued that, “the likelihood for miscalculation or misinterpretation is high” potentially attempting to draw comparisons to the rogue missile strike that ended up landing within the Polish border in September of last year. 


Similarly NATO has called Putin’s decision dangerous and irresponsible and have declared that “any changes in Russia’s nuclear posture would cause us to alter our own.  In early March 26, John Kirby, US National Security Council spokesman, assured the public that there is no evidence that Russian has yet moved any tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus. 


In a more recent update, the EU has called for cooler heads to prevail. EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, called the move “a threat to European security” and implored Belarus to use better judgement saying, “Belarus can still stop it, it is still their choice.” 


Despite raising the hackles of world leaders intent on seeing no further escalation of the Ukraine war, Putin’s move is most likely just an intimidation tactic aimed at flexing the Russian’s nuclear muscles.


Edited by: Morgan Reitzel

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Tags: #Russia #war #Lukashenko #Putin #Ukraine #Belarus #escalation #Nukes


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