Monday May 29, 2023 – Belarus President, Alexander Lukashenko has claimed that nations who are willing “to join the Union State of Russia and Belarus” will be given nuclear weapons, days after the dictator confirmed the transfer of some tactical nuclear weapons from Moscow to Minsk.
Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, made the comments in an on-camera interview released Sunday, May 28 on the state-run Russia 1 channel.
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.”
Signed in 1999, the Agreement on Establishment of the Union State of Belarus and Russia Treaty is an agreement that gives wide-ranging cooperation on economy, information, technology, agriculture, and border security among other things between the two countries, according to the Belarus government website.
Lukashenko’s comments on handing out nuclear weapons to like-minded allies are likely to heighten concerns as Moscow threatens the world with its own atomic arsenal as its war against Ukraine continues to drag on.
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 said that Russia would retain control over any tactical nuclear weapons stationed in Belarus and likened the move to Washington’s practice of stationing nuclear weapons in Europe to keep host countries, like Germany, from breaking their commitments as non-nuclear powers.
Belarus has had no nuclear weapons on its territory since the early 1990s. Shortly after gaining independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union, it agreed to transfer all Soviet-era weapons of mass destruction stationed there to Russia.