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Lukashenko claims Russia will give nukes to any state that joins 'Union State'

by Teah Pelechaty May 28, 2023 4:26 PM 2 min read
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko (R) attend the Supreme Economic Eurasian Council at the Kremlin on May 25, 2023, in Moscow, Russia. Leaders of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia gathered in Moscow for the events, hosted by Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). (Photo by Contributor/Getty Images)
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Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko claimed Russia will give nuclear weapons to any state that joins the Union State of Russia and Belarus, Russian state-controlled media said.

“It’s very simple. The union of Belarus and Russia should be entered into, and that’s all: There will be nuclear weapons for all,” he claimed.

Russia and Belarus are formally part of a so-called “union state,” an agreement aimed at deepening the two countries’ integration both politically and economically.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Belarusian counterpart Viktor Khrenin signed documents on May 25 in Minsk on placing Russian non-strategic nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory. Putin had first threatened to do so on March 25.

Shoigu said control over the tactical nuclear weapons, as well as decisions regarding their use, remain with the Kremlin, adding that Russia may take “additional measures” going forward to “ensure the security of the Union State (of Russia and Belarus) and respond to the military-political situation.”

Lukashenko claimed on May 25 that the transfer of some Russian tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus had already started.

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NATO, the EU, and the U.S. have condemned the decision to transfer nuclear weapons to Belarus.

NATO called the move “dangerous and irresponsible,” and EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell said it is a “step which will lead to further extremely dangerous escalation.”

“Any attempt to further escalate the situation will be met by a strong and coordinated reaction,” Borrell added.

However, the White House noted on May 26 that it had not changed its nuclear threat assessment following Russia and Belarus’ nuclear agreement, as it had not observed “any indications Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons in Belarus.”

In its assessment on May 26, the Institute for the Study of War suggested the move is part of a longstanding effort to cement Russia’s de facto military control over Belarus. The American think tank said it believes it remains “extraordinarily unlikely” that Putin will use the nuclear weapons deployed to Belarus in Ukraine or anywhere else.

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