Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko says that he won’t hesitate to use Russian nuclear weapons “today.” His announcement comes one day after the United States said it’ll give Ukraine depleted uranium shells. A similar move by the United Kingdom prompted Russia to place nuclear weapons in Belarus.
Lukashenko claimed that it was he who had originally asked Putin to deploy Russian nuclear weapons to Belarus. He argued that the move was necessary to deter potential aggression.
“God forbid I have to make a decision to use those weapons today, but there would be no hesitation if we face an aggression,” Lukashenko was quoted saying according to The Associated Press. Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, has said that the Russian nuclear weapons would be deployed to Belarus next month and emphasized that they would remain under Moscow’s exclusive control.
During his meeting Friday with Lukashenko, Putin said work on building facilities for the weapons would be completed by July 7th or 8th, and they would be moved to Belarusian territory quickly after that. Lukashenko said Tuesday that “everything is ready” for the Russian nuclear weapons’ deployment, adding that “it could take just a few days for us to get what we had asked for and even a bit more.”
This move is seen as a warning to the West, which continues to arm Ukraine as it keeps the proxy war going.
Asked later by a Russian state TV host whether Belarus had already received some of the weapons, Lukashenko responded coyly by saying: “Not all of them, little by little.”
“We have got the missiles and bombs from Russia,” he said, adding that the Russian nuclear weapons to be deployed to Belarus are three times more powerful than the U.S. atomic bombs that were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
“God forbid I have to make a decision to use those weapons today, but there would be no hesitation if we face an aggression,” Lukashenko, known for his blustering statements, said in comments released by his office earlier Tuesday. T-he Associated Press
“Listen, if a war starts, do you think I will look around?” he said. “I pick up the phone, and wherever he is, he picks it up,” Lukashenko said in a reference to Putin. “If he calls, I pick it up any time. It’s no problem at all to coordinate launching a strike.”
“I believe no one would be willing to fight a country that has those weapons,” Lukashenko said. “Those are weapons of deterrence,” he said. Lukashenko added that Belarus was readying facilities for intercontinental nuclear-tipped missiles as well, just in case.