Russia has launched joint exercises in Belarus involving ground and air forces
Russia has launched joint exercises in Belarus involving ground and air forces Russian Defence Ministry via AFP


  • The Belarusian President said it is possible Russia's nuclear warheads have already arrived in his country
  • Russia will retain control and authority over the nuclear warheads deployed to Belarus
  • The U.S. called the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus 'an example of irresponsible behavior'

Russia on Thursday began transporting nuclear weapons to Belarus as part of Minsk and Moscow's bilateral agreements, according to a top Belarusian official.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Higher Eurasian Economic Forum in Moscow, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said it is possible that Russia's tactical nuclear warheads have already arrived in his country where they will be kept in several storage facilities.

"A decision has already been made to develop what was said orally. We had to prepare places, storage and so on. We did all that, so... the transfer of nuclear ammunition began," he said, as reported by European Pravda, per translations via Google Translate.

His remarks come hours after the defense ministers of Belarus and Russia signed an agreement outlining the procedures for storing the latter's nuclear weapons in the country. Russia's deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus does not give Minsk the power to control the arms. Russia will still have control and authority over the nuclear warheads.

In response, U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller called the signing of the agreement an "example of irresponsible behavior" and warned that there will be "severe consequences" should Moscow use nuclear weapons in its war in Ukraine.

"[It is] the latest example of irresponsible behavior that we have seen from Russia since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine over a year ago," Miller said. "I will just add we have seen no reason to adjust our strategic nuclear posture or any indications that Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon."

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, former Belarusian presidential candidate and opposition leader, warned that it is necessary to do everything possible to prevent Russia from deploying its tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, adding that Moscow's plan violates Minsk's non-nuclear status.

"We must do everything to prevent Putin's plan to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus. It directly violates our constitutional non-nuclear status and would secure Russia's control over Belarus for years ahead. And it would further threaten the security of Ukraine and all of Europe," Tsikhanouskaya wrote in a tweet.

The plan for deploying nuclear weapons in Belarus was first announced by Putin in March, marking the first time that Moscow will have based such weapons outside the country since the mid-1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

A short range Iskander ballistic missile would be the likely delivery mode if Russia wanted to use a tactical nuclear weapon against Ukraine, military experts say