Russia has started transferring nuclear weapons to Belarus, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced. Russia, which announced the installation of nuclear weapons in its neighboring country in March, has not yet commented on the allegations.
“The moving of nuclear warheads has already begun,” Lukashenko told reporters during a visit to Moscow, where he is attending a regional summit. He did not reveal whether Russian nuclear weapons are already in Belarus, reports the French news agency AFP.
Lukashenko also explained that he is the Russian president Vladimir Putin said a day earlier that he had signed an executive order authorizing the transfer of Russian nuclear weapons.
The defense ministers of Russia and Belarus signed an agreement on the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. Moscow will retain control over it and the decision on its eventual use, the Russian defense minister said Sergey Shoigu.
On March 25, Putin announced that Russia would deploy tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus, fueling fears of an escalation of the conflict in Ukraine. The announcement sparked criticism from the international community, particularly in the West.
Belarusian opposition politician Svetlana Tihanovskawho lives in exile, condemned the transfer of Russian nuclear weapons as a threat to the entire European continent. “This not only threatens the lives of Belarusians, but also creates a new threat for Ukraine, for the whole of Europe,” she wrote on Twitter. “Belarusians will become hostages of Russian imperial ambitions,” she added.