Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko says he could use nukes in the event of “aggression” from nearby NATO members like Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.
The countries have rushed thousands of troops to their shared border amid tension with Belarus, which has played a pivotal role in Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The Kremlin used Belarus as one of its staging locations for the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. This past June, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed that Moscow supplied Minsk with tactical nuclear weapons.
“Nuclear weapons represent a strong deterring factor. But these are tactical nuclear weapons, not strategic ones,” Mr. Lukashenko said Thursday. “This is why we will use them immediately once aggression is launched against us.”
The Belarusian leader said his country has another weapon at its disposal in addition to its Russia-provided nuclear arsenal. He declined to elaborate.
“We will deliver a strike on decision-making centers once you cross red lines. It will be done without a warning,” Mr. Lukashenko warned. “We leave you alone and you should leave us alone. I mean, primarily those crazies in the West who are already making preparations.”
A Pentagon spokesman declined to confirm whether Russia shipped tactical or strategic nuclear weapons to Belarus.
“We have not seen anything that would cause us to change the posture of our own strategic forces,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, said Thursday. “Nor have we seen any indication that Russia has made a decision to employ nuclear weapons as it relates to the conflict in Ukraine.”