Belarus adopts new military doctrine involving deployment of tactical nuclear weapons

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Belarus unveiled a new military doctrine on Friday, which, if approved, would mark the beginning of the nation’s nuclear weapons deployment, according to CNN. “The deployment of tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of the Republic of Belarus is considered an important measure of the preventive deterrence for potential adversaries from unleashing armed aggression against the Republic of Belarus,” Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin told a briefing Friday.

To outline the course of action “in the event of armed aggression” against Belarus’ partners in the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) and the Union State, Khrenin claims that “a separate chapter was created,” CNN reported. Like NATO, the six post-Soviet nations that make up the CSTO are governed by Russia and are obligated to support one another in times of attack.

The six nation alliance–Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Belarus–were formed in 2002. A broad alliance between Belarus and Russia is established legally by the Union State of Belarus and Russia Treaty. The new doctrine, according to Khrenin, shows that Belarus “does not treat any nation as its enemy, regardless of the actions of these nations’ governments, as per CNN.

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Citing the Russian official media RIA Novosti, CNN reported the doctrine still needs to be approved by the All-Belarusian People’s Assembly, a representative body that functions in Belarus concurrently with the parliament. This assembly is scheduled to meet in April. “Restoring the influence of international security organisations such as the UN, OSCE and others, and their effective functioning in preventing and resolving armed conflicts,” Khrenin said adding that it is in the best interests of his government.

He said, “Belarus is open to cooperation in the military sphere with any countries, including NATO states, provided their aggressive rhetoric against Belarus is stopped.” In Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Minsk has been crucial. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Belarus apparently received Russian nuclear warheads last June for “deterrence,” reported CNN.

President Alexander Lukashenko issued a warning two months later, underlining that his nation would not join the conflict but threatening to “immediately respond with everything we have,” including nuclear weapons, if provoked, particularly by nearby NATO members like Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.