Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin will share a new proposed military doctrine with the government that allows for the potential usage of nuclear weapons, the Belarusian state news agency BelTA reported on Jan. 16.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Belarusian counterpart Khrenin signed an agreement in May 2023 to transfer tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus, a process that Russian leader Vladimir Putin said had begun in June. Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said in late December that the transfer process had been completed.
It is unknown how many tactical nuclear weapons Belarus possesses or what exactly the proposed doctrine entails.
Tactical nuclear weapons are technically designed for battlefield use and have a range of up to 500 kilometers if launched by land and up to 600 kilometers if launched by air or sea, according to the Nuclear Threat Initiative think tank.
According to the AP, Belarusian Security Council Secretary Alexander Volfovich said that the change in doctrine was a reaction to perceived aggression from Poland.
“Unfortunately, statements by our neighbors, in particular Poland ... forced us to strengthen," Volfovich said.
Despite the potential risk posed by the deployment of such weapons on Belarusian soil, the White House said shortly after the May announcement that it had not changed its nuclear threat assessment.
The White House will "continue to monitor, certainly the implications here... We have not seen any reason to adjust our own nuclear posture... nor any indications Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons for Belarus," said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.