Russia is preparing to deploy tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Saturday. It follows the deployment of a tactical missile system last year.
Putin, who was interviewed on Russia-24 on Saturday night, said Russia is building a special storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons which is scheduled to be completed on July 1.
Putin said the move was not unusual, noting that the U.S. has long stationed nuclear weapons in other countries.
“The United States has been doing this for decades,” Putin said. “NATO, Europe have their own tactical nuclear weapons, in six states – the Federal Republic of Germany, Turkey, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Greece.”
Last year, Russia deployed the Iskander tactical missile system to Belarus, which can be used to carry nuclear weapons.
“From April 4, we’ll start training the crew and on July 1 we’ll complete the construction of a special storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus,” Putin said in the interview.
Belarus possessed an unknown number of tactical nuclear weapons when it was part of the Soviet Union. All nuclear warheads were transferred to Russia in the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union.