Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, said countries that side with Russia would be given nuclear weapons. Photo/Russian Ministry of Defense via REUTERS
MINSK – Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of the President Vladimir Putin, claiming that countries are taking sides Russia in the war against Ukraine will be given nuclear weapons .
Lukashenko has long been a staunch supporter of Putin, most recently providing military support to Moscow in its invasion of Ukraine, a country which borders Belarus to the south.
Russian troops were allowed to carry out military drills on Belarusian soil and then enter Ukraine from Belarus when the invasion began in February last year.
Although no Belarusian troops are known to have entered the conflict in Ukraine, its support of Russia has generated controversy on the world stage.
During an interview with Russian propagandist Pavel Zarubin, which was reported by the newspaper Ukrainska Pravda on Sunday (28/5/2023), Lukashenko claimed that any country that joins the “Union State” pact between Russia and Belarus will be provided with nuclear weapons.
He called the prospect a unique opportunity to come together.
Russia reportedly has about 2,000 operational tactical nuclear warheads, and recently opted to go ahead with plans to deploy some of them to Belarus for the first time since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.
“If someone is worried… I don’t think (Kazakhstan President) Kassym Tokayev is worried about this, but if something suddenly happens, then no one will mind that Kazakhstan and other countries have the same close relationship that we have with the Federation. Russia,” Lukashenko told Zarubin.
“It’s very simple. (The country) must join the Belarusian union with Russia, and that’s it: there will be nuclear weapons for everyone.”