The Russian envoy to Belarus said that the weapons would be transferred to the ally’s territory despite the “noise in Europe and the United States”.
The Russian envoy in Minsk said that Russia will place tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus near its ally’s borders with NATO countries, in a move aimed at escalating tensions with the West.
The Russian ambassador to Belarus, Boris Gryzlov, said on Sunday evening that the weapons would be transferred to the country’s western borders as part of moves to “ensure security”.
“It will be done despite the noise in Europe and the United States,” Gryzlov told Belarusian state television.
Gryzlov said the storage facility would be completed by July 1, without specifying exactly where the weapons would be located.
The envoy’s comments come after Russian President Vladimir Putin last month announced plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.
Belarus shares borders with Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland, all of which are members of NATO, the military alliance originally created to deter Soviet expansion into Europe after World War II.
NATO has increased the number of its forces stationed in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland nearly tenfold since Russia invaded Ukraine in February of last year.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, one of Putin’s closest allies, said on Friday that some of Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons could be deployed on his country’s soil along with a site in Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal.
Tactical nuclear weapons have a shorter range and lower yield than strategic nuclear weapons, and are designed to deliver limited strikes on the battlefield.
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