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20 May, 2024
 
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Belarus receives Russian tactical nuclear weapons

President reveals ongoing delivery of powerful warheads, raising concerns internationally

Source: Sky News

Belarus has started to receive tactical nuclear weapons from Russia, its leader has said.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told Russian state TV that his country is taking delivery of the weapons, some of which he said were three times more powerful than the atomic bombs the US dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

The Russian leader had emphasized that Moscow would retain control of their use, but Mr. Lukashenko said he wouldn't hesitate to use them if Belarus faced aggression.

Lukashenko said Tuesday that "everything is ready" for the Russian nuclear weapons' deployment, adding that "it could take just a few days for us to get what we had asked for and even a bit more."

Asked later by a Russian state TV host whether Belarus had already received some of the weapons, Lukashenko responded coyly: "Not all of them, little by little."

"We have missiles and bombs that we have received from Russia," he said.

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It comes after Mr. Lukashenko contradicted Vladimir Putin over their potential use.

The Russian leader had emphasized that Moscow would retain control of their use, but Mr. Lukashenko said he wouldn't hesitate to use them if Belarus faced aggression.

The deployment is Moscow's first move of such warheads - shorter-range less powerful nuclear weapons that could potentially be used on the battlefield - outside Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union.

It's a development that is being watched closely by the United States and its allies as well as by China, which has repeatedly cautioned against the use of nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war.

Lukashenko also said separately on Tuesday that the nuclear weapons would be physically deployed on the territory of Belarus "in several days" and that he had the facilities to host longer-range missiles too if ever needed.

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