Some of the attack aircraft of Belarus have been given the capability of striking with nuclear weapons, Sergei Shoigu, Russia's Defense Minister, said speaking at a meeting with the leadership of the Russian Armed Forces on Tuesday, April 4,

 

"We defend the security of our allied state. Some of the Belarusian attack aircraft have acquired the ability to strike enemy targets with nuclear weapons," he said.

 

Shoigu reported that Russia has also handed over the operational-tactical missile complex "Iskander-M" mobile short-range ballistic missile systems to the armed forces of Belarus, which can be fitted with both conventional and nuclear warheads.

 

He also mentioned that training of Belarusian personnel in the use of these systems to defend the territory of Belarus began at one of the Russian training grounds on Apr. 3.

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Last week, on Saturday, Mar. 25, Putin announced he would deploy tactical nuclear weapons to his neighbor and ally Belarus, supposedly in response to a suggestion from the United Kingdom that it could supply Kyiv with depleted uranium ammunition.

 

On Sunday, Mar. 26, the US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby reported that he saw no indication that Russia has, or was yet ready, to move nuclear weapons.

 

“We have not seen any indication that he [Putin] has made good on this pledge or moved any nuclear weapons around,” Kirby told CBS’s Face the Nation.

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The Russian Orthodox Church has thrown down the gauntlet, explicitly asserting Russia’s imperial mission. The West can either dismiss Church’s call as madness or recognize it as Putin’s ambition.

 

Belarus, in turn, said on Tuesday, Mar. 28, that it was forced to host Russian nuclear weapons due to "unprecedented" Western pressure, insisting their deployment did not violate international agreements, given that Minsk would not have control over the weapons.

 

With fears of a nuclear war increasing, as Putin’s forces in Ukraine fail to achieve its objectives, experts believe that any Russian strike would probably involve "tactical" battlefield weapons as opposed to "strategic" high-powered long-range nuclear weapons.

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