"But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
For I neither received it of man, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." (Galatians 1:8-9)
Sputnik - Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and his Belarusian counterpart Viktor Khrenin inked a string of documents in Minsk earlier this week to define the procedure for maintaining Russia's non-strategic nuclear weapons at a special storage facility on the territory of Belarus.
This was preceded by Russian President Vladimir Putin announcing in late March that Moscow and Minsk had agreed to station Russia's tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, in a move that he stressed does not breach Russia's commitments on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Shortly after, Russian Ambassador to Minsk Boris Gryzlov said that the tactical nuclear weapons would be stationed closer to the western borders of the Union State of Belarus and Russia.
What are Tactical Nuclear Weapons?
Tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs), also known as non-strategic nuclear weapons (NSNWs), include small nuclear warheads and delivery systems that are designed to be used on the battlefield or for a limited strike. TNWs comprise gravity bombs, short-range missiles, artillery shells, land mines, depth charges, and torpedoes equipped with nuclear warheads.
As compared to strategic nuclear weapons, an NSNW is less powerful and aims to devastate enemy targets in a specific area without causing widespread destruction and radioactive fallout. A TNW’s yield varies from a fraction of a kiloton to approximately 50 kilotons, while a strategic nuclear weapon has a yield from 100 kilotons to over a megaton. Importantly, as of 2023, no tactical nuclear weapon has ever been used in a combat situation. Moscow has not released its TNW numbers or any other specifics related to the weaponry, but Washington argues that the Russian TNW-related figure is purportedly 10 times more than the US has.
What is Behind Russia's Deployment of Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Belarus?
Announcing this week’s Moscow-Minsk signing of documents on maintaining Russian NSNWs on the territory of its immediate neighbor, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry reiterated that this is a response to the aggressive policies being pursued by unfriendly countries.
The ministry was echoed by Sergey Shoigu, who, referring to the deployment of Russian tactical nukes in Belarus, stressed that Moscow and Minsk were forced to make appropriate decisions on retaliatory measures in the military-nuclear sphere due an "extremely sharp escalation of threats" on both countries' western borders. (more)
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