Belarus Says It Has Nuclear Weapons, Threatens To Use Them

(Photo by PAVEL BEDNYAKOV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Tuesday that Belarus would not hesitate to use Russian-supplied nuclear weapons in the event it faces aggression.

Lukashenko’s comments contradict those of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had said previously that the weapons would remain under Moscow’s direct control, according to the Associated Press. Putin announced earlier this year that Russia would move some of its nuclear weapons to Belarus as a potential deterrent to increased Western support for Ukraine.

This isn’t the first time Lukashenko has appeared to lack an understanding about the nuclear weapons that will be in his country. When the deal was first announced, Lukashenko was asked by reporters during a trip to Russia if the weapons were already in Belarus. He said he’d have to wait and check when he got back.

Putin said Friday that the facilities in Belarus for the weapons will be completed by July 7 or 8, and that the weapons will be moved shortly thereafter. Lukashenko said Tuesday that “everything is ready.”

Reporters once again asked Lukashenko if Belarus had received any of the weapons yet. “Not all of them, little by little,” he answered.

“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 added in remarks given through his office. (RELATED: LEAKED DOCS: Turkey Undermining Ukrainian War Effort While Praised By Biden Admin)

“Listen, if a war starts, do you think I will look around? I pick up the phone, and wherever he is, he picks it up,” Lukashenko continued, referring to Putin. “If he calls, I pick it up any time. It’s no problem at all to coordinate launching a strike.”

Russian officials did not immediately comment on Lukashenko’s statements. Belarus was once home to a significant portion of the Soviet Union’s nuclear arsenal, but all of the USSR’s nuclear weapons were moved to Russia after 1991. Once Russia moves weapons to Belarus, it will be the first time Moscow has deployed nuclear arms outside its territory since then.