Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has claimed that nations who are willing “to join the Union State of Russia and Belarus” will be given nuclear weapons, days after confirming the transfer of some tactical nuclear weapons from Moscow to Minsk had begun.
Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, made the comments in an on-camera interview released Sunday on the state-run Russia 1 channel.
The Union State of Russia and Belarus is a supranational entity whose founding was ratified by both countries’ parliaments in 2000. The alliance promotes cooperation in economic, agriculture, technology, and border security matters.
“It’s very simple. You have to join the union between Belarus and Russia, and that’s it: There will be nuclear weapons for everyone,” Lukashenko said on Russian state TV, as reported by NBC News.
“I think it’s possible,” Lukashenko said, per NBC, noting that he was expressing his personal view. “We need to strategically understand that we have a unique chance to unite.”
On Thursday, the Belarusian autocrat announced that Russia will transfer some of its nuclear weapons into Belarus’s territory. Belarus transferred all its nuclear weapons to Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union.
The move sparked condemnations from the EU and US, with US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller calling it “irresponsible behavior,” though he said there were no current indications that Russia plans on using the weapons.
On Sunday, the Belarusian Defence Ministry said another unit of the S-400 mobile, surface-to-air missile systems arrived from Moscow, with the systems to be ready for combat duty soon.