Lukashenko Boasts of What Russia Has Sent His Way

But it's unclear if the tactical nuclear weapons have truly arrived in Belarus
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2023 7:38 AM CDT
Lukashenko Boasts of What Russia Has Sent His Way
In this handout photo released by Belarusian Presidential Press Office, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko talks with Russian TV presenter Olga Skabeyeva during his visit to the missile production enterprise in Minsk region, Belarus, Tuesday, June 13, 2023.   (Belarusian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Some three weeks after Belarus signed a deal allowing Russia to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on its territory, the Belarusian president suggested some of those weapons are in place. Bloomberg reports delivery wasn't supposed to occur until construction of a nuclear storage facility in Belarus is completed around July 7-8—a schedule announced by Vladimir Putin himself. And it's possible that's still the timeline. Though President Alexander Lukashenko told a Russian TV reporter Tuesday "we have missiles and bombs, we have received from Russia," Lukashenko gave a laugh when asked to clarify that delivery had occurred. His comments were a bit all over the place:

  • Lukashenko said "everything is ready" for the weapons' deployment, saying "it could take just a few days for us to get what we had asked for and even a bit more."
  • Asked whether some of the weapons had been delivered, Lukashenko said, "Not all of them, little by little."
  • He then said he would blindfold the journalist and take her to the location where the weapons are stored "once we get them."

The AP, which calls Lukashenko's comments "brash," points out another apparent contradiction between what Putin had said and what Lukashenko boasted. In comments released by his office earlier in the day, Lukashenko said, "God forbid I have to make a decision to use those weapons today, but there would be no hesitation if we face an aggression." Putin had said the weapons would be wholly under Moscow's control. Lukashenko later clarified that he would seek Putin's OK. "Listen, if a war starts, do you think I will look around? I pick up the phone, and wherever he is, he picks it up."

story continues below

"The bombs are three times more powerful than those (dropped on) Hiroshima and Nagasaki," Lukashenko also said Tuesday, per Reuters. The AP notes the tactical nuclear weapons Belarus will be receiving are designed to target enemies on the battlefield and "have a relatively short range and a much lower yield than nuclear warheads fitted to intercontinental ballistic missiles that are capable of obliterating whole cities." It's thought that Russia has 2,000 such weapons; it's unclear how many will be transported to Belarus. (More Alexander Lukashenko stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.