May 25, 2023
1. The accord stipulated the deployment of non-strategic NW in Belarus
On May 25 Moscow and Minsk have sealed an agreement on the deployment of Russian non-strategic or tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) in Belarus, and the terms of their use.
Moscow will deploy in Belarus land-based and air-based TNW: nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles and some modified Belarussian fighter-bombers Su-25.
Explaining the need for the move, Russian Defense Minister, Army General Sergey Shoigu cited a recent increase in the number of NATO maneuvers involving nuclear weapons near Russia and Belarus. The move was also made in response to increased and provocative NATO nuclear arms activity near Russian territory for quite a long time.
The Russian minister emphasized that the move had come in response to the “acute escalation of threats and activities by NATO joint nuclear missions.”
He noted that the bilateral Moscow and Minsk agreement involves “non-strategic nuclear weapons” and is in accordance with “all international legal obligations currently in force.” “Russia is not handing over nuclear weapons to the Belarusian Republic; control over it and the decision to use it remains with the Russian side,” Shoigu outlined, by adding that “additional measures” could be taken going forward in order to ensure the security of the Union State existing between Russia and Belarus.”
Lieutenant General Viktor Khrenin Belarusian Defense Minister stated that the agreement between the two allies “will be an effective response to the aggressive policies of countries that are hostile toward us.” He also expressed hope that the deployment of Russian TNW to Belarus would make Western powers revise their activities in the region. The Belarusian minister hailed the accord as further proof of the “strategic” importance of relations between Moscow and Minsk.
"Today in the conditions of non-stop aggressive attacks, sounded by representatives of the military and political block of NATO and not only, our meeting is particularly important and underlines the depth of the bilateral cooperation in the military and military-technical fields. At present there is an unprecedented pressure from the "collective" West on both the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation in all spheres of ensuring the national security of our countries. They are trying to impose on us a unipolar world on the model where all countries are not governed by international law, but are subject to certain rules that ensure the promotion of the interests of some states, which, according to their leaders, have "exclusivity". Such a vision of the world order led to expansion of the geography of international terrorism, unreasonable build-up of the group of troops near the borders of the Union State, increase of military tension in the political, economic and informational spheres in the region and in the world as a whole.
Under these conditions the Republic of Belarus is interested in further developing strategic allied relations with the Russian Federation in the military sphere, through strengthening the obligations in our doctrinal documents and deepening bilateral interaction, as well as through creating the conditions and taking measures that will make it no longer worthwhile to talk to us from a position of strength.”
Besides, in conditions when security guarantees given to the Republic of Belarus in Budapest Memorandum of December 5, 1994, and also in conditions when warlike rhetoric supported by practical actions of "collective" West countries towards the Republic of Belarus and Russian Federation are not observed, by order of our Heads of State the work on deployment of non-strategic nuclear weapons of Russian Federation in the territory of Belarus has been organized. It will be an effective response to the aggressive policy of the countries unfriendly to us and, we hope, will make their leadership think about the inadmissibility of further escalation of the situation in the region.
The implemented and planned activities once again underscore the strategic format of the existing co-operation between our agencies. The Republic of Belarus remains committed to strengthening and developing close cooperation to ensure the security of the Union State.
Russian President Vladimir Putin first announced in late March 2023 that Moscow would deploy TNW to Belarus at Minsk’s request. He cited America’s practice of stationing its own nuclear weapons in allied countries – five in Europe and Asia.
It has been officially announced by Minsk that the process of delivering TNW to Belarus from Russia has already begun.
The USA and NATO were quick to criticize Russia’s decision, claiming it was “dangerous and irresponsible,” as if the Pentagon has not deployed its in Europe and Asia from the middle 1950th till now, and has not begun the Alliance’s Baltic Air Policing operation equipped with DCA or dual-capable aircraft flying with TNW every 24 hours and all-year round, and as if the USA has not sent its heavy strategic bombers certified to deliver SOA or strategic offensive nuclear arms. Unlike Russia who is committed to NFU or NFS (no- first-use or no-first-strike) of nuclear weapons, the USA has refused to support such idea from 1945.
2. "There is a suspicion": Military analyst admitted the presence of nuclear weapons in the Baltics
(Dmitry Vorobiev’s comment published by National News Service or NNS, Russia, on May 25, 2023)
U.S. nuclear weapons can already be deployed in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, Vladimir Kozin said.
Vladimir Kozin, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Military Sciences, said in a conversation with NNS that Russia's placement of non-strategic nuclear weapons in Belarus is aimed at deterring the combined aggression of Ukraine and NATO against Russia and Belarus, as there are suspicions of the deployment of American nuclear warheads in the Baltic States.
Moscow retains control over the use of Russian non-strategic nuclear weapons deployed in Belarus, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said. Russia has equipped the Belarusian army with the Iskander-M missile system and the S-400 surface-to-air missile system and re-equipped Su-25 airplanes to use nuclear-armed air defenses. The Belarusian military has been trained at Russian training ranges in the use of this equipment. Kozin noted that militarily the situation has now changed in favor of Russia.
"The deployment of non-strategic nuclear weapons in Belarus significantly changes the situation in favor of Russia”.
He continued: Let me remind you that U.S. nuclear weapons are deployed in four European states, as well as in the Asian part of Turkey. There is a deep suspicion that U.S. nuclear weapons are already deployed in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Or they can be quickly delivered to their territories, including Poland.
The deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus would shorten the flight time of [Russian nuclear] warheads to NATO states.
The issue of additional deliveries of American F-16 and F-35 fighters, which can carry nuclear warheads, to NATO countries, as well as to Ukraine, is also being discussed there. Ukrainian crews are already being trained to fly the F-16s. Therefore, Russia's transfer of nuclear weapons to Belarus is related to deterring NATO and Ukrainian aggression against our countries," Kozin said.
The NNS interlocutor noted that the location of nuclear weapons in Belarus will be classified. "For our states their location will be known, but for others it is strictly classified information," Kozin noted.
The military analyst also said that Poland would immediately get a teeth-grinding response if it tried to stage a provocation against Belarus, or against the two countries, namely Russia and Belarus
"Poland will get a powerful teeth-grinding response to an attempt to use any kind of weapon against Russia, Belarus or simultaneously against the Union State. No one will sit idly by and contemplate this situation," Kozin stressed.
Note: the original comment in Russian can be found at https://nsn.fm/policy/est-podozrenie-voennyi-analitik-dopustil-nalichie-v-pribaltike-yadernogo-oruzhiya
Written by Vladimir P. Kozin