Russia vows to station tactical nuclear weapons on the border between Belarus and Poland from July

Putin rattles the nuclear saber: Russia vows to station tactical nuclear weapons on Belarus’ borders with Poland and the Baltic states from July amid rising tensions with NATO

Russian tactical nuclear weapons will be used close by Belarus‘borders with NATO So said the Russian ambassador to Belarus on Sunday amid escalating tensions between Russia and the West over Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

Ambassador Boris Gryzlov’s comment followed Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s recent statement on plans to station tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Russia’s neighbor and ally. The announcement marked another attempt by the Russian leader to dangle the nuclear threat to discourage the West from supporting Ukraine.

Putin has said construction of tactical nuclear weapons storage facilities in Belarus will be completed on July 1, adding that Russia has helped modernize Belarusian warplanes to carry nuclear weapons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a ceremony to open new pharmaceutical production facilities in the Kaliningrad region, Mordovia and Saint Petersburg via video conference in Moscow, Russia, March 30, 2023

Sarmat rocket test launch on April 20, 2022

Sarmat rocket test launch on April 20, 2022

The two neighboring countries have an agreement that provides for close economic, political and military ties. Russia used Belarusian territory as a staging post for its invasion of Ukraine and has maintained a contingent of troops and weapons there.

Gryzlov said in a speech broadcast by Belarusian state television late Sunday that Russian nuclear weapons “will be moved close to the western border of our union state,” but did not give an exact location.

“It will increase our defense capabilities, and it will happen regardless of all the noise in Europe and the United States,” he said, referring to Western criticism of Putin’s decision.

Belarus shares a 778-mile border with NATO members Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

Su-25 fighter jets of the Belarusian army fly during an Independence Day parade in Minsk, Belarus, July 3, 2019

Su-25 fighter jets of the Belarusian army fly during an Independence Day parade in Minsk, Belarus, July 3, 2019

Tactical nuclear weapons, which are intended to destroy enemy forces and weapons on the battlefield, have a relatively short range and much lower yield compared to warheads mounted on long-range strategic missiles that can destroy entire cities.

The deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus would bring them closer to potential targets in Ukraine and NATO members in Eastern and Central Europe.

Belarus’ authoritarian president Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday that some of Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons could be deployed in Belarus along with part of Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal.