Moscow, Minsk sign deal on deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus

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Moscow and Minsk have signed an agreement on the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus amid „growing threats on their western borders,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has said.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.Photo: EPA/MIKHAIL METZEL/KREMLIN via PAP

Shoigu was on Thursday quoted as saying by Russian state-owned news agency TASS that „in the context of an extremely sharp escalation of threats on the western borders of Russia and Belarus, a decision was made to take countermeasures in the military-nuclear sphere.”

Under the agreement, Moscow will maintain complete control over the arsenal and have the authority to make any decisions concerning its use, Shoigu added.

Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was planning to station tactical nuclear weapons in neighbouring Belarus and that Minsk would have a storage facility for Russian nuclear weapons ready by July 1, according to reports at the time.

In his annual address to lawmakers and government officials at the end of March, Belarus’ strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko said that the deployment of nuclear arms on Belarusian territory would provide protection against threats from the West.

(jh/gs)

Source: PAP

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