June 7, 2023

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The United States is concerned about Russia's deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus

The United States is concerned about Russia’s deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus

Washington – AFP

A US defense official told reporters on Tuesday that the United States feared that Russian military exercises in Belarus would become permanent, paving the way for the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in the country, which borders Ukraine. And Poland.
Russian troops are heading for Belarus after Moscow’s ally, President Alexander Lukashenko, announced on Monday that the two countries would hold joint military exercises next month.
The move, which came without warning to countries in the region – as usual – raised tensions with the West, which fears a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The official, who did not want to be named, said the size of the Russian forces was “much larger than we would expect from ordinary maneuvers”.
He added: “The timing is significant and raises fears of Russia’s intention to deploy troops in Belarus in the guise of joint military exercises aimed at launching a possible offensive against Ukraine.
He pointed out that the proposed amendments to the Belarusian constitution in a referendum scheduled for next month would allow the presence of the Russian military permanently.
He continued: These draft constitutional amendments may refer to a plan that would allow Belarus’ regular and nuclear Russian forces to be stationed on its territory. This is a challenge to European security and may require an answer.
The officer said: When it comes to normal maneuvers, the number of mobilized forces is, of course, greater than we expected.
For example, he pointed out that routine maneuvers involving nine thousand soldiers must be announced to neighboring countries 42 days in advance. If the number is over 13,000, an international audience is needed. And he added: This is what is normal here. This is something completely different.
He said: Over time, Lukashenko became more and more dependent on Russia for various forms of support, and we know that he did not receive this support for free. It is clear that Russia is taking advantage of Lukashenko’s weakness and demanding some of his accumulated debt.

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