Belarus Orders Inspection of Tactical Nuclear Weapons

As this publication reported in March 2023, the Russian Federation signed several Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with Belarus to host nuclear weapons on Belarusian soil. Yesterday, President Putin ordered a Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons (NSNW) exercise to be executed in response to the U.S. supplying F-16s with Ukraine and French President Macron’s comments about possibly stationing troops inside Ukraine.

At approximately 0900 EST this morning, Belarusian President Lukashenko announced that his country’s forces would also hold tactical nuclear weapon inspections, presumably those weapons that have been loaned out from the Russian Federation. The initial announcement from the Belarusian minister of Defense Khrenin reads below:

“Today we received an order from the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus to conduct a surprise inspection of the forces and means of carriers of non-strategic nuclear weapons. A division of the Iskander operational-tactical complex and a squadron of Su-25 aircraft are being prepared to carry out their intended missions. The inspection will be carried out in accordance with strict time regulations established by the Commander-in-Chief. “During it, the entire range of activities from planning, preparation and use of strikes with tactical nuclear weapons will be tested.”

The Belarusian Ministry of Defense published the below video purportedly showing the loading of an Iskander road-mobile Transport-Erector-Launcher (TEL), possibly with a nuclear weapon. The exact time and location of these operations were not disclosed.

First Deputy Minister of Defense of Belarus, Major General Viktor Gulevich also told his TG following that nuclear-capable Su-25 aircraft have been dispersed to airfields throughout Belarus for these inspections. However, it is not clear if those aircraft are armed or even if that type of weapon has been positioned in Belarus by the Russian Federation.

The level of cooperation between the Russian Armed Forces and the Belarusian Armed Forces during these exercises is not clear, and it is entirely possible that these “inspections” may just be rhetorical. US DOD spokesperson Ryder told the press yesterday that the United States Intelligence Community has not observed any notable change in the nuclear posture of the Russian Federation.

Tessaron
Tessaron
United States Military Academy and American Military University Alumni. Victor covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.

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