Russia completed the transfer of some of its tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus in October, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko disclosed on Dec. 25.
The tactical nuclear warheads were delivered “a long time ago,” Lukashenko said while attending an economic meeting in St. Petersburg, according to Tass, the Russian news agency. “At the beginning of October. Everything is in its place and in good condition.” Russia and Belarus first struck the deal to transfer Russian tactical nuclear weapons in June 2022 and formalized it in May 2023. Belarus said that it finished retrofitting about 10 Russian-made Su-25 fighter jets in service with its air force for the warheads in August 2022 and completed training Belarusian crews for the nuclear mission in April 2023. (See ACT, May 2023.)
The transfer of Russian tactical nuclear weapons began in the June-July time frame, according to the two countries. Lukashenko gave no details about how many weapons were transferred or where exactly they were deployed, The Associated Press reported.
Although Belarus will host the weapons, Russia has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin will retain control over their potential use.—SHANNON BUGOS