The Russian minister justified this decision by stating that “in the context of an extremely strong escalation of threats and the activity of NATO joint nuclear missions, we are obliged to take retaliatory measures in the military-nuclear sphere.”
Shoigu also recalled that the Iskander-M tactical-operational missile system, capable of using missiles not only in conventional but also nuclear weapons, had already been delivered to Belarus.
“Some of the Belarusian aircraft have been converted for the possible use of nuclear weapons. The military have received proper training,” he added.
For his part, the Belarusian minister has indicated that the deployment of non-strategic nuclear weapons in his country is a response to “aggressive actions by the West.”
“We hope that it will make your leaders think about the inadmissibility of a further escalation of the situation in the region,” he added.
Shoigu has specified that Russia will retain control of the weapons deployed in the territory of Belarus, as well as the decision on their eventual use.
“Russia does not transfer nuclear weapons to the Republic of Belarus: control over them and the decision to use them remains with the Russian side,” he assured.
Last March, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced an agreement with his Belarusian counterpart, Alexandr Lukashenko, for the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in the neighboring country.
Already in April, the Belarusian Army received training in Russia on the use of special tactical ammunition for the Iskander-M missile system.
In the middle of the same month, Russia further announced that the training of Belarusian forces to operate Su-25 attack aircraft, which were re-equipped to have the possibility of delivering tactical nuclear weapons, had been completed.
Brussels warns that the agreement “increases tension”
For the European Commission, the documents signed today by Moscow and Minsk are “a step that only increases the tension” in the war against Ukraine.
“This is not a step towards de-escalation. This is a step that only increases the tension that can be framed in the context of the illegal aggression of Russia and the cooperation of Belarus,” said the spokesman for Foreign Affairs of the Community Executive, Peter Stano.
The community representative has ensured that “the EU will closely monitor” the application of the agreement.