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Russia moving tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus in first deployment in over 30 years

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (AP)

Russia has begun moving tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus in the first such move in more than 30 years.

According to Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko nuclear warheads were already on the move to the country as of Thursday following an order signed by Vladimir Putin.

The deployment of nuclear warheads outside Russia would be the first since 1991. Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigui claims it was sparked by the West’s apparent effort to “to prolong and escalate the armed conflict in Ukraine”.

“The collective West is essentially waging an undeclared war against our countries,” he added during a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart.

In Washington, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller described the plans as “the latest example of irresponsible behaviour that we have seen from Russia since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine over a year ago”.

Mr Miller repeated Washington’s warning that use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons in the conflict would be met with “severe consequences”, without specifying those consequences.

“I will just add we have seen no reason to adjust our strategic nuclear posture or any indications that Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon,” he told reporters.

Former Russian President and Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev also claimed that western allies underestimated the risk of a nuclear war over Ukraine.

“The Anglo-Saxons do not fully realize this and believe that it will not come to this," he said. "It will under certain conditions.”