RUSSIA – BELARUS
Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in neighbouring Belarus, a warning to the West in response to the UK deputy defence minister’s announcement of impending deliveries of depleted uranium shells to Ukraine.
In an interview broadcast Saturday night on Russian state television, Putin said this would be done without violating the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and that the United States had long since deployed its nuclear weapons on the territory of its NATO allies.
“If memory serves, they are Germany, Turkey, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Greece,” he said.
Belarus borders three NATO members: Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
In addition, Putin noted that last year Russia had already helped re-equip several Belarusian warplanes for the use of tactical nuclear weapons and handed over Iskander missile systems to Minsk, which can also carry such charges.
Tactical nuclear weapons, unlike more powerful long-range strategic nuclear weapons, are designed for use on the battlefield without large-scale radioactive contamination.