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Belarus to use nuclear weapons in new military doctrine

Belarus is preparing a new military doctrine that allows the use of nuclear weapons, which were deployed by Russia on its territory last year.
Here's what nuclear weapons have to do with the Ukraine crisis
Nuclear weapons. Illustrative photo.

Belarus is working on a new military doctrine that provides for the use of nuclear weapons for the first time, Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin said on 16 January, the European Pravda reported.

In May 2023, the defense ministers of Russia and Belarus signed documents on deploying tactical nuclear weapons from Russia to Belarus. A month later, the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, announced that Russia delivered its first nuclear warheads to the territory of Belarus, a country bordering Ukraine to the north.

“We clearly communicate the views of Belarus on the use of tactical nuclear weapons deployed on our territory. A new section has appeared where we clearly define our allied obligations to our allies,” Belarusian Defense Minister ViktorKhrenin said at a meeting of the Security Council of Belarus.

The new military doctrine of Belarus will be submitted for approval to the All-Belarusian People’s Assembly, a representative body that operates in parallel with the parliament in Belarus. How the new doctrine could be applied to Russian nuclear weapons is unclear.

Security Council Secretary of Belarus Aliaksander Volfovich said that the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus is intended to deter aggression from Poland, a NATO member. Aliaksander Volfovich noted that statements by Poland and other neighboring countries forced Belarus to strengthen its military doctrine but did not specify which statements he was referring to.

In June 2023, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said that Belarus had built special storage facilities on its territory to house Russian tactical nukes.

Thus, Belarus and Russia violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The Soviet Union joined the NPT in 1968 (obligations and rights now assumed by Russia). Belarus joined the NPT on 23 May 1992 with Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Only four countries worldwide have not joined the NPT, namely India, Israel, Pakistan, and South Sudan.

The NPT is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of atomic energy, and achieve nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.

The deployment of the shorter-range, less powerful nuclear weapons is Moscow’s first move of nuclear warheads outside Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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