Lukashenko describes conditions for nuclear deployment
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has clarified his stance on nuclear weapons by saying that if the West moves its arsenal close to his country’s borders then Minsk will ask neighboring Russia to “return” nuclear weapons to Belarus.
Speaking to the media on Sunday, Belarus’ leader recalled a conversation with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. According to him, on Saturday he told Macron that “if America, or France, also a nuclear power, transfer their nuclear weapons to Poland, to Lithuania, to our borders,” than he will ask the Russian President Vladimir Putin “to return the weapons that I gave you away in the past without any preconditions.”
Lukashenko also added that, amid the Russian attack on Ukraine, Minsk and Moscow have made arrangements for the defense of Belarus. “We will coordinate with Putin and will transfer with Russia appropriate additional weapons here, which could cause such unacceptable damage that neither Poles nor Lithuanians will want to fight with us,” he said, as quoted by Tass.
Belarus was the first state to voluntarily renounce nuclear weapons in the early 1990s.
The Elysee in its readout of the phone call between Macron and Lukashenko said that the French president had stressed “the seriousness of a decision that would authorize Russia to deploy nuclear weapons on Belarusian soil.”
Macron also called on Lukashenko “to demand the withdrawal of Russian troops from Belarusian soil as quickly as possible,” and called on him to “cooperate with the international community” on Ukraine.Earlier this week, Belarus offered to host ceasefire talks between Russia and Ukraine. While supporting Russia, Lukashenko insists that Belarusian troops have not been involved in Russia’s military operation.
Moscow launched its attack on Ukraine on February 24. Putin explained the military action by the urgent need to “demilitarize Ukraine,” to protect Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and to ensure that Russia would not be threatened by NATO from Ukrainian territory. The Western countries condemned the attack and imposed new tough sanctions on Russia.