Belarus Prez Promises Nuclear Weapons to 'Everyone'

He urges other countries to join Russia-Belarus union
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2023 10:38 AM CDT
Belarus Prez Promises Nuclear Weapons to 'Everyone'
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attends a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, May 25, 2023.   (Ilya Pitalev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Belarus has signed a deal to allow Russia to deploy nuclear weapons on its territory but President Alexander Lukashenko apparently doesn't want other former members of the Soviet Union to feel left out. In an interview aired on a state-run Russian channel Sunday, the Belarusian leader promised that "everyone" who joined the Russia-Belarus "Union State" could have nuclear weapons, CNN reports. He described it as a "unique chance to unite." "It’s very simple. You have to join the union between Belarus and Russia, and that’s it: There will be nuclear weapons for everyone," he said.

A 1999 treaty between Belarus and Russia expanded their economic and military integration and removed most border checks. Lukashenko said Sunday that nobody is "against Kazakhstan and other countries having the same close relations" with Russia. Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev rejected Lukashenko's invitation to join the union, saying he "appreciated the joke," reports Reuters. "As for nuclear weapons, we do not need them because we have joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty," he said. "We remain committed to our obligations under those international documents."

Despite Lukashenko's remarks, he doesn't have the authority to make decisions on where nuclear weapons go. The company transferred its Soviet-era nuclear weapons to Russia in the early 1990s. Lukashenko said last week that the transfer of Russian weapons to Belarusian territory had already begun under the new pact, though Russia will maintain control over the weapons. Russian President Vladimir Putin has compared the move to the US practice of keeping nuclear weapons on the territory of European allies, CNN reports. (More Belarus stories.)

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