Putin says first batch of tactical nuclear weapons delivered to Belarus

The first batch of Russian tactical nuclear warheads has been delivered to Belarus, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin announced on Friday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the plenary session of The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), in St. Petersburg, Russia, 16 June 2023.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the plenary session of The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), in St. Petersburg, Russia, 16 June 2023.Photo: PAP/EPA/VYACHESLAV VIKTOROV / RIA NOVOSTI / SPUTNIK

The announcement was made during the International Economic Forum held in St Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city.

During the event, Putin announced that he first batch of tactical nuclear weapons had been delivered to Belarus, adding that the deployment would be completed by the end of the year.

„The first nuclear warheads were delivered to the territory of Belarus. But only the first ones, the first part. But we will do this job completely by the end of the summer or by the end of the year,” Putin said in a speech.

The Russian president claimed the deployment serves as „an element of deterrence so that all those who are thinking about inflicting a strategic defeat on us [Russia ed.] are not oblivious to this circumstance.”

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in March announced he wanted to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, an apparent warning to the U.S.-led NATO military alliance over its support for Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden said in May he had an „extremely negative” reaction to reports that Russia had proceeded with the plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

According to the Institute for the Study of War think-tank, „the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus is part of a longstanding effort to cement Russia’s de facto military control over Belarus and is highly unlikely to presage any Russian escalation.”

(ał)

Source: PAP, Reuters

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