Russia and Belarus define non-strategic nuclear arms procedure
Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu have signed documents related to the placement of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus
Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu signed documents outlining Russia's non-strategic nuclear weapons maintenance routine on Thursday.
Shoigu had arrived in Minsk earlier in the day to attend a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization at the level of defense ministers.
According to the Belarusian defense ministry, "During a meeting, [the sides] signed documents defining the procedure for maintaining Russian non-strategic nuclear weapons in a special storage facility on the territory of Belarus," adding that the deployment is a response against unfriendly countries.
Russian President Vladimir Putin stated back in March that Minsk would not be given control of any nuclear weapons in Belarus.
The Russian President announced in late March that Russian tactical nuclear weapons would be placed in Belarus, with the storage sites for weapons expected to be finished by July 1.
Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia had clarified late in March that Russia was not violating its non-proliferation commitments by deploying tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.
Washington denounced the plan at the time, with the EU threatening Belarus with sanctions, although the Pentagon and NATO noted that there are no indications that Russia is preparing to use any nuclear weapons.
Belarus previously confirmed that the decision comes in response to years of Western pressure, including sanctions, as well as the military-build up by NATO member states near its borders.