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Belarus Tests Readiness of Nuclear Forces After Russia Announced Drills

by | May 7, 2024

Belarus Tests Readiness of Nuclear Forces After Russia Announced Drills

by | May 7, 2024

iskander

FILE PHOTO: A Russian Iskander-K missile is launched during a training drill at an undisclosed location in Russia. (Credit: Russian Defense Ministry)

Belarus announced on Tuesday that its military was conducting a drill on the readiness of its forces to use tactical nuclear weapons, which Russia recently deployed to the country.

The announcement came a day after Moscow said it would launch drills simulating the use of tactical nuclear weapons in response to provocations from the West, including comments from French President Emmanuel Macron about the possibility of sending ground troops to Ukraine.

Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin said President Alexander Lukashenko ordered a “snap readiness test of forces and capabilities of delivery vehicles for non-strategic nuclear weapons.”

Alexander Volfovich, the state secretary of the Security Council of Belarus, said the drills were being conducted “against the backdrop of the actions of Russian colleagues on the use of non-strategic nuclear warheads and is fully coordinated with them.”

The Belarusian drills will involve an Iskander missile system battalion and a squadron of Su-25 airplanes. According to Russia’s TASS news agency, Moscow has “given Minsk the nuclear-capable Iskander missile system and has assisted in retrofitting Belarusian aircraft to enable them to carry nuclear munitions.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin first announced in March 2023 that Russia would deploy nuclear weapons to Belarus. To justify the decision, he pointed to NATO’s nuclear sharing program, under which the US has nuclear weapons deployed in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Turkey, and Italy.

This article was originally featured at Antiwar.com and is republished with permission.

Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com. Follow him on Twitter @decampdave.

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