Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he plans to bring nuclear weapons into Belarus as a warning to Western countries as they increasingly support Ukraine.
Putin said on state television on Saturday that the move was a response to Britain’s decision last week that Russia would send armor-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium. falsely claimed to have a nuclear component.
The Russian president said he would maintain control over the nuclear weapons stationed in Belarus and build a storage facility for them by July 1.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has long called for nuclear weapons, but Putin has insisted that Russia has not violated its international nuclear obligations.
Putin added that the US has deployed nuclear weapons on the territory of NATO allies.
Belarus, which borders three NATO members Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, has been used by Russia since its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
Putin said Moscow helped Belarus modernize its military aircraft last year to be able to carry nuclear warheads, with 10 aircraft now available.