Russia has reached an agreement with Belarus to station tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of its smaller neighbor, bringing a portion of its arsenal closer to the rest of Europe.
Vladimir Putin announced the agreement on state television, contending that it would not violate non-proliferation agreements and would be comparable to agreements the United States has with a number of European allies.
Putin stated that he was acting following negotiations with the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, who he claimed had “long raised the question” of a nuclear deployment on Belarusian territory.
Putin stated, “There is nothing unusual here either: firstly, the United States has been doing this for decades,” They have had their tactical nuclear weapons stationed on the territory of their allies for some time.
The Russian president added, “We agreed that we will do the same – without violating our obligations, I emphasise, without violating our international obligations on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons,”
Putin has repeatedly made nuclear threats or escalated nuclear rhetoric since Ukraine’s invasion, but this is the first time he has announced a plan to station nuclear weapons in another country.
According to the Federation of American Scientists, Moscow possesses 5,977 nuclear warheads and has long had the ability to strike any target in the world. The United States has marginally fewer, 5,428.