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Moscow and Minsk sign agreement on placing nuclear weapons in Belarus

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 25, 2023 12:21 PM 2 min read
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) and Belarus' Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin (right) shake hands during their meeting in Belarusian capital Minsk on May 25, 2023. (Belarus' Defense Ministry/Telegram)
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Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Belarusian counterpart Viktor Khrenin signed documents on placing Russian non-strategic nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory.

According to Belarus' Defense Ministry, the two officials met in Minsk on May 25.

Control over the weaponry and decision on its use remains with Moscow, Shoigu said during the meeting, as cited by Russian state-controlled news agency Interfax.

He added that Russia may take "additional measures" in the future "to ensure the security of the Union State (of Russia and Belarus) and respond to the military-political situation."

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On April 4, Shoigu claimed that Russia had provided Belarus with aircraft and Iskander-M missile complexes capable of delivering nuclear strikes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened on March 25 that his country intended to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus for training, the latest in Moscow's series of nuclear threats against Ukraine and the West.

Putin said the "special storage facility" for tactical nuclear weapons would be ready by July 1.

Belarus' Foreign Ministry later claimed the regime was "forced" to do so amid so-called "unprecedented political, economic, and informational pressure" from the West.

NATO and the EU criticized the move, urging Belarus not to go through with it. The European Union's chief diplomat Josep Borrell called the decision an "irresponsible escalation and threat to European security."

Steven Pifer: Russian nukes in Belarus - much ado about little?
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in the op-ed section are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the views of the Kyiv Independent. In a March 25 interview, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia would deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus for use by the Belarusian milit…
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