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Analyzing The Russia Move To Deploy Nuclear Weapons In Belarus

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko announced that the nukes are already on move from Russia and special storage facilities in Belarus are now ready to keep them.

Analyzing The Russia Move To Deploy Nuclear Weapons In Belarus Belarus shares its border with three NATO allies namely Poland, Lithuania and Latvia and with nuclear weapons stationed in its territory, it now has the capability to strike most of the NATO allies in Europe.

Ever since the disintegration of Soviet Union in 1991, nuclear weapons are being deployed outside Russia for the first time. Kremlin officially declared that it is going to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus within next three weeks. While the deal between Russian and Belarus was signed in last week of May 2023, there are several questions yet to be answered. Firstly, it is s unclear as to how many nuclear weapons are being deployed now. Secondly, what type of delivery mechanism with what ranges is being incorporated with these weapons and thirdly, how potent these nukes are. Although Kremlin categorically mentioned that these are tactical nukes and hence will have a comparatively lower yield of less than 50 Kilotons and they will not be capable to wipe off cities but with these limited capabilities too, they are enough to inflict fear into the spine of any enemy. 

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko announced that the nukes are already on move from Russia and special storage facilities in Belarus are now ready to keep them. Russian move of deploying nukes has once again refreshed the memories of Cold War where the entire world was threatened by the irresponsible moves of United States and Soviet Union. In September last year, Dmitri Medvedev, the former president and deputy Chairman of Russia's security council further fueled up the issue by saying that Russia has the right to defend itself with nuclear weapons if it is pushed beyond limits and that is certainly not a bluff. With the physical movement of nukes into Belarus, we know now that it was not a bluff. However since there are four nuclear capable countries in the region namely US, UK, France and Russia, this move can start a rat race if things are not contained in time and bring back horrifying memories of cold war when there were more than 7300 nuclear weapons deployed in Europe alone threatening to wipe off the humanity.

While analyzing recent events, we must ponder on the fact that if the Russian move is an action or a reaction?  Kremlin has categorically mentioned two things in the past. First is that it is not the first one to deploy nukes outside its country and second is that by doing this, it is not breaching any nuclear proliferation treaty. Russian authorities claimed that while Russia is doing so for the first time in last 32 years, United States has been keeping its nuclear weapons in Europe continuously since 1950. Even when cold war was over and erstwhile USSR de-inducted its nukes from other countries, United States did not do so despite signing the treaty. Even today, it is keeping an unknown stockpile of nuclear weapons at six major NATO bases in Europe namely Kleine-Brogel in Belgium, Büchel Air Base in Germany, Aviano and Ghedi Air Bases in Italy, Volkel Air Base in the Netherlands, and Incirlik in Turkey. While US never disclosed the exact number of weapons stored at these sites, it is estimated that this number could be well beyond 100. These warheads are stored in WS-3 underground weapon storage vaults and their Permissive Action Link (PAL) codes remain in American control. Russia says that it is doing exactly the same by constructing special weapon storage facilities in Belarus which will remain in Russian control and hence not caused any breach to any nuclear or missile proliferation treaty. 

With a yield ranging from 0.5 Kiloton to about 50 Kilotons these tactical nukes will have a comparatively reduced effect and are targeted for military use only. Russia gained massive expertise on these tactical nukes in last thirty years and currently has more than 2000 such tactical nukes which are more than any other country. Russia has already placed 10 Aircrafts capable and modified to carry nuclear weapons to Belarus in March this year. Not only this, but Russia has already transported a large number of Iskandar tactical missiles to Belarus which are not only capable to carry tactical nukes but with its 500Km limited range, can reach important NATO bases in Europe too. The motive is to send a clear message in the Europe especially NATO allies. 

Belarus shares its border with three NATO allies namely Poland, Lithuania and Latvia and with nuclear weapons stationed in its territory, it now has the capability to strike most of the NATO allies in Europe. Europe is sandwiched between Russia and US and will suffer the most in case of an escalation. With the ongoing Ukraine Russia conflict too, it is the Europe which got the maximum brunt on both economic and military fronts. During the cold war days too, it suffered most and in the coming times too, it will have tough scenarios to face. It has been mentioned a number of times earlier too that in case of any more escalation, Europe will be the ultimate loser. So, in order to protect itself, the onus lies on Europe to make efforts towards de-escalation of the situation before it goes out of hand.