Deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus will not mean real escalation by Russia – ISW

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Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is convinced that the agreement on the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus is aimed at consolidating the actual Russian military control over Belarus, and the probable deployment of nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory is unlikely to mean any escalation from the Russian side.

Source: ISW

Details: On 25 May, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Belarusian Defence Minister Viktor Khrenin signed documents in Minsk on the deployment of Russian non-strategic (tactical) nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory. Shoigu stressed that Russia would retain control over tactical nuclear weapons if they were to be deployed in Belarus and stated that Belarusian aircraft are now capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

ISW recalled that Russian President Vladimir Putin had previously announced on 25 March that Russia would deploy tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus by 1 July, presumably to restore boring information operations about a potential nuclear escalation due to the war in Ukraine.

Shoigu also announced during the signing of the agreement that Russian forces would deploy additional military contingents in Belarus to develop military infrastructure, expand joint military drills, and conduct intelligence activities near the borders of the so-called Union State.

"The deployment of tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus requires both significant military infrastructure and Russian command and control over elements of the Belarusian Armed Forces. The Kremlin likely intends to use these requirements to further subordinate the Belarusian security sphere under Russia," ISW noted.

Background: The signing of an agreement between Russia and Belarus on the deployment of nuclear forces on Belarusian territory has not changed the US assessment of the level of nuclear threat from the Russian Federation.

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