Russia-Ukraine War

Russia to arm Belarus with nuclear-capable missile systems

Russian, Belarusian presidents agree to strengthen Belarusian military capabilities

Elena Teslova   | 25.06.2022
Russia to arm Belarus with nuclear-capable missile systems

MOSCOW

Russia is planning to give Belarus the Iskander mobile short-range ballistic missile systems, capable of firing missiles with nuclear warheads, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday.

"As we agreed with you, you raised the question about this, we have made a decision. In the coming months, we will transfer Iskander-M tactical missile systems to Belarus, which, as you know, can use both ballistic and cruise missiles, both in conventional and nuclear versions," Putin told his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko at a meeting in Saint Petersburg.

Putin suggested that the two countries' top defense and military officials work out details related to the matter.

The two leaders voiced agreement, with Lukashenko noting that NATO has been carrying out training flights of nuclear-capable aircraft near his country's borders, asking for help "to respond adequately."

He requested Russian assistance to either carry out a reciprocal response or "adapt" Belarusian aircraft to respond to the threat.

Putin pointed out that the Belarusian army has a large group of Su-25 fighter jets that could be equipped as needed.

"They could be upgraded accordingly. This modernization should be carried out at aircraft factories in Russia, but we will agree with you when to do it and start training flight personnel accordingly," said Putin.

The Russian president noted that the US deployed about 200 nuclear tactical ammunition in six European countries -- NATO members -- most of them are atomic bombs and that 257 aircraft have been prepared for the possible use of nuclear bombs.

Lukashenko explained that he fears the situation of 1941 when Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union without declaring war, after signing a non-aggression pact.

"I'm not saying that tomorrow we will transport or you will transport nuclear ammunition there (to Belarus), but we can't be light-minded, we remember 1941, when we were lulled to sleep -- everything will be fine, everything is quiet, no one will attack, and then -- we were not ready for it (for the attack),” he said. "Therefore, this is a very serious situation for us, and this is not the first time I have put this question before you.”

In this connection, Lukashenko mentioned Lithuania's ban on the transit of Russian goods to its semi-exclave Kaliningrad region via Belarus, which he qualified as "close to declaring a war."

"Lithuania is the same. Recently, there has been a growing flow of information about their plan to stop transit from Russia through Belarus to Kaliningrad, isolate Kaliningrad. Listen, this is akin to declaring some kind of war already, such things are unacceptable in modern conditions," he said.

Lukashenko said he is taking very seriously what is happening around Russia and Belarus and thinks it is necessary to be prepared to defend the whole space of Russia and Belarus from border to border.

"I do not hide it, I raise the question so that we can be ready for everything, even for the use of the most serious weapons in order to protect our Fatherland from Brest to Vladivostok," he said.

*Turning to the possibility of a global food crisis, Putin said Russia is in touch with the UN about deliveries of fertilizers to the global market.

He invited Lukashenko to unite efforts to help "traditional partners" to get the necessary volumes of synthetic nutrients, necessary for agricultural practices.

He added that last year Russia provided 40 million tons of grain to the global market and this year that figure can reach 50 million tons.

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