War: Putin: Russia deploys tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus

War: Putin: Russia deploys tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus

After more than a year of aggressive war against Ukraine, Russia’s president accuses the West of an increasing course of escalation. Now Putin is upping the ante.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in the former Soviet republic of Belarus. The leaders in Moscow and Minsk had agreed on this, Putin told state television. Russia is not violating the international nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

The Kremlin chief pointed out that the United States also has nuclear weapons stationed with allies in Europe. “We’re just doing what they’ve been doing for decades.” Belarus is a neighbor of both Russia and Ukraine.

The United States also has nuclear weapons stationed in Germany. In the past, Putin had called for their withdrawal because Moscow saw itself as a threat. Now the head of the Kremlin emphasized that Russia – like the USA – would not let any other country have its nuclear weapons. Rather, they would be kept there, and there would be training in weapons. Putin announced that training in Belarus will begin on April 3. The shafts for the Iskander missiles, which can be equipped with nuclear warheads, should be ready by July 1st. There was initially no information from Minsk.

Putin: Lukashenko asked for it

Belarus and its ruler Alexander Lukashenko are among Moscow’s closest allies. Lukashenko has repeatedly asked for the stationing of tactical nuclear missiles, Putin said. The permanent ruler in Minsk – often referred to as “Europe’s last dictator” – also regretted that Belarus got rid of its nuclear weapons after the collapse of the Soviet Union more than 30 years ago. Ukraine also gave up its nuclear weapons at the time.

Russia has already helped Belarus convert aircraft, ten of which are now equipped to also launch tactical nuclear weapons, Putin said. Tactical nuclear weapons have a shorter range than ICBMs, but still several hundred kilometers. The explosive effect is between 1 and 50 kilotons of TNT. However, Russia is not stationing any strategic nuclear weapons in Belarus that could reach the United States, for example.

With the stationing, Russia is reacting to the increasing tensions with NATO in the wake of Putin’s war against Ukraine. Russia invaded Ukraine more than a year ago. Specifically, Moscow was recently outraged about the possible delivery of uranium ammunition from Great Britain to Ukraine. The projectiles with depleted uranium have a special impact, for example to destroy tanks.

Moscow is outraged by London

Putin warned on state television against the use of such ammunition. Uranium ammunition is “one of the most harmful and dangerous for humans” because the uranium core causes radioactive dust and contaminates the soil. “Without exaggeration, we have hundreds of thousands of such missiles,” he said. So far, however, they have not been used.

The British Army has been using depleted uranium in armor-piercing shells for decades. The Ministry of Defense in London accused Putin of misinformation after speaking of a “nuclear component”. Putin knows that this has nothing to do with nuclear weapons or capabilities.

As part of NATO’s nuclear deterrent, the United States has stationed nuclear bombs in several European countries. There is no official information on this, but nuclear weapons are said to continue to be stored in the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Germany – as well as in the Asian part of Turkey. Other NATO countries, Great Britain and France, have their own nuclear weapons.

Up to 20 US nuclear bombs are said to be stationed at the Bundeswehr air base in Büchel in the Rhineland-Palatinate Eifel, which are to be used in an emergency with the Bundeswehr’s Tornado fighter jets. The Tornados stationed in Büchel are to be replaced by modern F35 fighter jets from US production from 2027.

1600 tanks for war against Ukraine

In the interview, Putin also said that given Western tank supplies to Ukraine, Russia will increase its own tank production. “The total number of tanks in the Russian army will exceed the Ukrainian one by three times, even more than three times.” While Ukraine will get 420 to 440 tanks from the west, Russia will build 1,600 new tanks or modernize existing tanks.

Putin also said Russia could produce three times the amount of ammunition that western Ukraine wants to supply. The national armaments industry is developing at a rapid pace. However, he did not want to overly militarize his own economy, the Kremlin chief claimed. In fact, a government commission has already been set up in Moscow to ensure that the economy meets the needs of the military. While the Russian economy is suffering severely from Western sanctions, the defense industry is working at full speed.

Source: Stern

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