Putin allies haven’t shied away from making nuclear threats since the re-invasion of Ukraine last year, and now Belarussian ‘dictator’ Lukashenko has joined the club, saying he would not hesitate to use the weapons to deter aggression against his nation.
Belarus recently became a forward staging point for Russian nuclear weapons, yet despite claims that control would remain solely with Moscow, the Belarussian President strongly implied he has some discretion, saying he would not hesitate to use them if attacked.
The concerning remarks from self-styled “dictator” Alexander Lukashenko that his country would not accept aggression from abroad come, ironically enough, amid Russia’s invasion of sovereign state Ukraine with Belarus’s logistical help. Speaking of a theoretical situation where he would use nuclear weapons, Lukashenko said he didn’t want to see “not a single bastard… set foot on Belarusian soil” and that if they did, “the response will be immediate”.
Russia has Trained Belarussian Pilots to Deploy Nuclear Weapons, Defence Ministry Claims https://t.co/zcYutffUjV
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 14, 2023
Nevertheless, Lukashenko said per Kremlin-operated news service Tass: “I believe it is unlikely that anyone would want to wage war against a country that has such weapons. It is a weapon of deterrence… God forbid if I have to make a decision to use this weapon in modern times. But I won’t hesitate should there be an aggression against us.”
As previously reported, Russian nuclear weapons were reportedly transferred to Belarus earlier this year. While Russia defended the move as being akin to the United States basing nuclear weapons in the territory of NATO members in Europe, in this case it was claimed Belarussian pilots had been trained to drop the weapons from their own aircraft.
As noted by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, this is at best a “bad faith implementation” of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Russia sending nuclear weapons to Belarus in this way invalidates its long-standing position that all nations should only keep nuclear weapons on their own sovereign territory. This was the crux of the Kremlin’s argument that the United States should withdraw nuclear weapons from Europe.
The nuclear weapons involved in this transfer are of the tactical rather than strategic type, intended to destroy an army on the move, as opposed to destroying a whole city. The Bulletin has said the deployment of weapons to Belarus is a message “undoubtedly addressed to the West… clearly aimed at Poland” and is the boldest nuclear move by Russia since the Cold War.
Lukashenko has previously suggested Russia’s nuclear weapons could be spread even further out in Europe and Asia, as any country that signs up to the “Union State” security pact with Moscow — as Belarus has — would get their own nuclear weapons in return. “There will be nuclear weapons for everyone”, he said.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 26, 2023