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Russia to station nuclear weapons in Belarus: Prez Putin

This will be the first time since the mid-1990s that Moscow will have nuclear arms outside the country.

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Moscow: Russia will station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday.

President Putin said the move would not violate nuclear non-proliferation agreements and compared it to the US stationing its weapons in Europe, according to Russian media.

Moscow would not be transferring control of its arms to Minsk, he added. The US said it did not believe Russia was preparing to use nuclear weapons after the announcement.

“We have not seen any reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture,” the US Defense Department said in a statement. “We remain committed to the collective defence of the Nato alliance”.

Belarus shares a long border with Ukraine, and with Nato members Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. This will be the first time since the mid-1990s that Moscow will have nuclear arms outside the country.

The Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991 meant weapons became based in four newly-independent states – Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan – with the transfer of all warheads to Russia completed in 1996.

The Belarusian regime is a firm Kremlin ally and supporter of the invasion of Ukraine, according to BBC.

President Putin told the media on Saturday that Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko had long raised the issue of stationing tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

“There is nothing unusual here either,” he said. “Firstly, the United States has been doing this for decades. They have long deployed their tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of their allied countries.”

Russia will start training crews to operate the weapons from next week. The construction of a storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus will be completed by 1 July, President Putin added.

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