Days after confirming the transfer of some tactical nuclear weapons from Moscow to Minsk, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko asserted that states wanting “to join the Union State of Russia and Belarus” would receive nuclear weapons.
The remarks were made by Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an on-camera interview that aired on the government-run Russia 1 channel on Sunday, May 28.
During the interview, Lukashenko said, “no one minds Kazakhstan and other countries having the same close relations that we have with the Russian Federation.”
“It’s very simple,” he added. “Join the Union State of Belarus and Russia. That’s all: there will be nuclear weapons for everyone.”
According to the Belarusian government website, the Agreement on Establishment of the Union State of Belarus and Russia Treaty was signed in 1999 and provides for extensive economic, informational, technological, agricultural, and border security cooperation between the two nations.
As Moscow continues to threaten the globe with its own nuclear arsenal as its conflict against Ukraine drags on, Lukashenko’s remarks about distributing nuclear weapons to like-minded partners are certain to raise more questions.
On Thursday last week the Belarusian dictator said the transfer of some tactical nuclear weapons from Russia to Belarus had begun, following an agreement signed by Moscow and Minsk.
“It was necessary to prepare storage sites, and so on. We did all this. Therefore, the movement of nuclear weapons began,” Lukashenko said, according to state news agency Belta.
He also promised the safety of those weapons, saying: “This is not even up for discussion. Don’t worry about nuclear weapons. We are responsible for this. These are serious issues. Everything will be alright here.”
Putin has stated that Russia would maintain control over any tactical nuclear weapons stationed in Belarus and compared the action to the practice of Washington of stationing nuclear weapons in Europe to prevent host nations like Germany from violating their commitments as non-nuclear powers.
Belarus has been devoid of nuclear weapons since the early 1990s. It promised to hand over all of the Soviet-era WMD stationed there to Russia shortly after obtaining independence following the fall of the Soviet Union.