Vladimir Putin has announced during a meeting with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko that the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus will commence right after the necessary preparations of the facilities are completed in early July.
Putin told his Belarusian counterpart during an informal meeting in Sochi on Friday that “On July 7-8, the preparation of the relevant structures is being completed and we will immediately begin measures related to the deployment of the relevant types of weapons on your territory”.
The Russian leader has previously said that the construction of storage facilities for tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus will be complete by July 1
It is believed that Russia has also helped modernize Belarusian warplanes to make them capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
The two neighbours have an agreement envisioning close economic, political and military ties.
Russia used Belarusian territory as a staging ground for invading Ukraine and has maintained a contingent of troops and weapons there.
Belarus shares a 1,250-kilometer (778-mile) border with NATO members Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
Tactical nuclear weapons, which are intended to destroy enemy troops and weapons on the battlefield, have a relatively short range and a much lower yield compared with nuclear warheads fitted to long-range strategic missiles that are capable of obliterating whole cities.
The deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus would put them closer to potential targets in Ukraine and NATO members in Eastern and Central Europe.
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