Belarus Threatens To Deploy Nukes Against Any Western Aggression
For the first time throughout the current two-month long standoff between NATO and Russia over Ukraine, the specter of nuclear war has been directly raised, with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday warning that his country stands ready to deploy nuclear weapons if under threat.
Citing external threats coming from the West, and at a moment Belarus is hosting many thousands of Russian troops, as well as S-400 missiles and long-range bombers for ongoing joint military drills expected to go to Feb. 20, Lukashenko warned, “If necessary, if such stupid and mindless steps are taken by our rivals and opponents, we will deploy not only nuclear weapons, but super-nuclear and up-and-coming ones to protect our territory,” according to AFP.
It’s not the first time he’s signaled willingness to host Russian nukes in recent months, but it is an unprecedented moment that one of the major states involved in the current conflict has directly raised the possibility and even willingness for nuclear-armed confrontation.
President Biden and his administration in the latest statements have alleged Belarus is playing a key role in Russia’s encircling Ukraine with tens of thousands of troops in preparation for an attack on the country. The Kremlin has said it will bring the troops home after the scheduled exercises, something which Western officials have disputed.
According to the latest statements via Bloomberg, the “Russian military will leave Belarus for their permanent bases after the end of training exercises, Interfax reports, citing Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.” This after the Kremlin at the start of this week said it’s began reducing units near Ukraine’s border in the Russian south.
“The first units have already arrived at their permanent bases following the conclusion of drills in Russia
Units from the Southern Military District who held drills in Crimea have returned to bases in Chechnya and Dagestan,” Bloomberg reports. Interfax also notes that from Thursday through Saturday, Russian and Belarussian troops are set to hold ‘live fire’ drills, which will without doubt heighten the West’s alert as the situation continues to be closely watched.
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 17, 2022
However, the West is still accusing Russia of maintaining an offensive posture, with the latest from Biden saying a reduction of forces “has not been verified” – and with NATO’s Stoltenberg echoing the assessment.
And in his latest assessment issued Thursday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said US intelligence has observes some Russian forces “inching closer to the Ukrainian border” and “stocking up on blood”. The US has been alleging for the past weeks that a “sign” that Russia is making preparations for an attack is its deployment of medical supplies, especially blood to the front lines to prepare to treat its wounded troops.
Fri, 02/18/2022 – 02:45