BREAKING: Putin Makes Nuclear Announcement - He Did It
Boris Gryzlov, the Russian ambassador to Belarus, stated on Sunday that the Kremlin plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons close to the borders Belarus shares with NATO countries, reported the Daily Mail.
Gryzlov's announcement comes in the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement that Russia would place atomic weapons in Belarus, which is an ally of Russia's.
The Latest Step in the Russo-Ukrainian War
Analysts are looking at this as another attempt by Moscow to discourage Western nations from supporting Ukraine in the ongoing war between the two countries.
Revealing the move on Belarusian state television on Sunday, Gryzlov said "It will expand our defense capability, and it will be done regardless of all the noise in Europe and the United States."
NATO members Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania all share borders with Belarus.
According to the Mail's report, the tactical weapons Putin initially mentioned are designed for use against troops and other targets on the battlefield.
However, according to ABC News, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko mentioned the deployment of larger strategic nuclear weapons on Friday.
These bigger weapons would be capable of causing destruction on a much greater scale.
Lukashenko has echoed a lot of the Kremlin's rhetoric around the conflict. ABC quoted him as saying "We will protect our sovereignty and independence by any means necessary, including through the nuclear arsenal."
He also stated "These are our weapons and they will contribute to ensuring sovereignty and independence."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was dismissive of Lukashenko's remarks, stating "I think he no longer decides which weapons are located on his territory."
During his statements, Lukashenko also called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine. Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian presidential adviser, responded by stating that this would not be possible.
Moscow has already started working on storage facilities for nuclear weapons in Belarus. According to Putin, they will be ready by the end of June.
Belarus' Role in the War
Though Lukashenko is sympathetic to Putin, both Russia and Belarus have stated that Belarus will not join the war on Russia's side, reported the Atlantic Council.
Belarus has allowed Russia to base troops and launch missiles within its borders for most of the duration of the war.
The two countries have strengthened their ties since the beginning of the conflict, and have agreed to partner on economic and defense initiatives going forward.
Officials have also sought to discredit reports that the Kremlin is planning to annex Belarus.