The United States Department of Defense declared that it had no plans to change the combat readiness of its nuclear forces, despite Russia’s desire to place tactical atomic weapons on Belarusian soil.
According to the Pentagon, Russia’s decision will not impair the readiness of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons facilities.
Russia to send tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus
On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West by announcing intentions to place tactical nuclear weapons in neighbouring Belarus.
Putin stated that the move was precipitated by Britain’s decision last week to equip Ukraine with uranium-depleted armour-piercing bullets. Russia is aware that it is a proxy of the U.S., and the depleted uranium is being sent to Ukraine on behalf of the U.S.
Tactical nuclear warheads are designed for use on the battlefield and have a shorter range and lower yield than the nuclear warheads mounted on long-range, far more potent missiles. Putin stated that Russia intends to keep control over the goods it delivers to Belarus and that the building of storage facilities for these goods would be completed by July 1.
He did not specify the number of nuclear weapons Russia will maintain in Belarus. The U.S. government estimates Russia possesses around 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons, including bombs that tactical aircraft, missile warheads, and artillery rounds can carry.
Putin said that by placing tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, Russia was following the United States lead, adding that the United States had nuclear weapons bases in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey.
Iskander complexes of the Western Military District and Central Military District, Kalibr-equipped ships, and Kinzhal hypersonic missiles can be armed with tactical nuclear weapons.
Earlier, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko stated that Russia would furnish Minsk with shells containing actual uranium if the Ukrainian Armed Forces utilised deadly weapons. He demanded that the West halt the crucial supplies to Ukraine to avoid escalating the conflict.
Belarus opposition protests
The placement of Russian tactical nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory is unconstitutional, tweeted the leader of the Belarusian opposition, Svitlana Tykhanovskaya.
Russia’s deployment of tactical nuclear warheads in Belarus breaches its constitution. It runs counter to the wish of the Belarusian people, as expressed in the 1990 Declaration on the State Sovereignty of Belarus, to maintain a non-nuclear state status, Tykhanovska emphasised.
Europe cannot be safe – ICAN
The International Initiative for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) denounced Vladimir Putin’s statements proposing the deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus.
Daniel Hogsta, the acting head of ICAN, stated that while Vladimir Putin possesses nuclear weapons, Europe cannot be safe. Hogsta emphasised that he justifies this dangerous escalation by citing decades of nuclear weapons exchange between NATO nations. According to him, Putin is simultaneously concealing the global stance towards nuclear weapons. Hogsta emphasised that as long as countries continue to view nuclear weapons as something other than a global threat, Putin can conceal his behaviour.
ICAN is mum on the United Kingdom’s plans to supply Ukraine with depleted uranium and the United States deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.