Belarusian officials revealed that Belarus is ready to deploy nuclear weapons on its own territory under the threat of NATO.
According to a report by the Russian news agency on December 18, Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Machee expressed this in an interview with the media. Under the threat of NATO, Belarus is ready to deploy nuclear weapons on its own territory.
Surrounding the immigration crisis on the border between Belarus and Poland and the military confrontation between Russia and Ukraine, the situation in Eastern Europe has escalated, and the official statement of Belarus considering deploying nuclear weapons on its own land fueled the situation. So, if Belarus makes a decision to deploy, what kind of nuclear weapons will it deploy? What is the impact on the nuclear situation in Europe?
Russian-equipped “Iskandel” tactical ballistic missiles can use both conventional and nuclear warheads.
Belarus’ nuclear weapons warning
Makyi said that what Belarusian President Lukashenka said that “we consider the possibility of deploying nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory” was one of the possible reactions to NATO’s possible future action on Polish territory.
Previously, Lukashenka said in an interview with the Russian satellite news agency that if NATO deploys nuclear weapons in Poland, Belarus will propose to Russia to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus.
NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg revealed to the outside world on the 19th of last month that if Germany refuses to deploy nuclear weapons on its territory, nuclear weapons may be deployed to other European countries, including those east of Germany.
As soon as Belarusian leaders may consider proposing to Russia to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus, there are concerns that as the situation escalates, there may be a “missile crisis” in Europe.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov pointed out that Lukashenka’s opinion can be regarded as a warning to the West.
In the interview, Lukashenka did not disclose whether the nuclear weapons that may be proposed for deployment are strategic or tactical.
Zhao Tong, a researcher at Tsinghua-Carnegie Center for Global Policy, analyzed to The Paper (www.thepaper.cn) that tactical nuclear weapons are relatively less politically sensitive and flexible in deployment. If Belarus and Russia reach an agreement on the deployment of nuclear weapons, tactical nuclear weapons are most likely to be deployed. Weapons.
“This seems to be equivalent to the United States, because the B61 nuclear bomb deployed by the United States in Europe is a nuclear weapon.” Zhao Tong said.
In June this year, the website of the Nuclear Weapons Project of the Institute of Peace and Security Policy of the University of Hamburg in Germany showed that there were 100 nuclear bombs in U.S. military bases in Europe and Turkey.
According to the latest statistics released in the Atomic Energy Scientists Bulletin this year, as of early 2021, Russia’s nuclear arsenal had 6,257 nuclear warheads, of which 1,600 were in active service, 985 strategic nuclear warheads and 1,912 non-strategic nuclear warheads (munitions for tactical nuclear weapons) Header) is stored. In addition, 1,760 decommissioned nuclear warheads are pending dismantling.
According to the evaluation of the U.S. Department of Defense, Russia currently has 2,000 to 4,000 tactical nuclear warheads. Hans Christensen, a U.S. nuclear expert, also predicts that the number of tactical nuclear warheads in service in Russia is about 2,000, and thousands of decommissioned warheads are waiting to be destroyed.
The U.S. Washington Lighthouse of Freedom website previously reported that the Russian army is currently vigorously promoting the construction of tactical nuclear forces. Tactical nuclear weapons stockpiles range from 3,300 to 5,700. Medium and short-range missiles such as SSC-8 land-based cruise missiles and SS-N-27 “calibre” cruise missiles may also be equipped with nuclear warheads in the future.
SSC-8 land-based cruise missile.
Pavel Podevich, a Russian nuclear force research scholar, once pointed out, “Russia believes that if tactical nuclear weapons are used in conflicts, anyone will avoid escalating the conflict.”
In Zhao Tong’s opinion, Russia’s possibility of deploying nuclear weapons in Belarus is very low, because once deployed, it will be a drastic change in Russia’s nuclear policy. Russia has always claimed that it will not deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of other countries, and from the latest situation, NATO’s possibility of deploying nuclear weapons east of Germany is decreasing. .
Germany passed a joint agreement on November 24, and Germany will remain a member of the NATO nuclear sharing agreement under the leadership of the new government. At a time when tensions with Russia are rising, this move will prevent rifts in Western military alliances. Germany does not possess nuclear weapons, but deploys American nuclear weapons, B61 nuclear bombs, which are carried by German Wind fighters.
The German Ministry of Defense plans to phase out the Wind fighters between 2025 and 2030, because of the high maintenance cost and difficulty in finding spare parts. The German Merkel administration planned to buy an American F-18 fighter to replace the Wind fighter, but the decision was postponed to 2022.
“The foreign minister of Belarus mentioned again in the past two days mainly to warn NATO of more means to safeguard national interests, including the security guarantees provided by Russia.” Zhao Tong analyzed and believed.
Russia has played two cards in succession, “one article”,
In addition to nuclear weapons, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister’s remarks on the possible deployment of intermediate-range nuclear missiles in response to NATO’s continued eastward expansion have also attracted great attention.
On December 13, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Riabkov warned that if NATO countries continue to expand eastward and deploy military infrastructure in Russia’s border areas, Russia will take action to respond, such as deploying intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe.
Riyabkov pointed out that if Russia and NATO members are unable to solve the tense between Russia and Ukraine through diplomatic means, Russia will take military measures to solve this problem. At the same time, he said that Russia has “lost trust” in NATO. “NATO believes that they can act according to their own needs and interests, and Russia can only accept the practices of these countries, but this situation will not happen again.”
Previously, Riabkov warned about NATO’s eastward expansion, “NATO countries should not carry out further eastward expansion. Unfortunately, these countries ignore our warning that NATO’s military infrastructure is constantly approaching Russia’s border areas. We have made relevant suggestions, and we hope that the countries concerned will not ignore it.
A scholar in the field of domestic arms control told The Paper that what Russia now disgusted most now is the new European countries, that is, some member countries of the previous Warsaw Pact or former Soviet Union, because some countries have become anti-Russia vanguards in order to tie closer to the United States.
“These countries hope to improve their strategic position in the eyes of the United States by deploying high-value military facilities of the United States.” The above-mentioned scholars in the field of arms control said, “The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister made this statement to warn these countries.”
However, four days after Yabkov issued a warning, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a draft security treaty on the 17th, listing a series of conditions that Russia had put forward with the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, including requiring NATO to “stop expansion eastward, not absorb former Soviet Union countries to join NATO, and not to establish new military forces in former Soviet Union countries. Base”, etc.
The U.S. land-based Aegis base in Romania believes that it can launch land-based cruise missiles, threatening Russia’s national security.
AFP commented that Russia’s announcement of the security treaty that is still being drafted through official channels is somewhat diplomatically unusual. Regarding the request for NATO to stop expanding eastward, the Russian satellite news agency interpreted that this request was aimed at Ukraine and Georgia, which sought to join NATO.
White House spokesman Jane Psaki responded on the 17th that the United States has seen a Russian solution, “We will not compromise on issues related to the basic principles of European security, including the right of all countries to determine their own future and formulate their foreign policies without external interference.”
Jack Sullivan, assistant to national security affairs of the United States, said at an event of the Foreign Affairs Society of the think tank that Washington was ready to negotiate with Russia and “will brighten the concerns of the United States at the negotiating table.”
Feng Yujun, director of the Russian Research Center for Central Asia of Fudan University, analyzed in an interview with The Paper that the main purpose of Russia’s successive “force warning” and “draft security treaty” is to force NATO, led by the United States, to sign legally effective documents, so that NATO can promise not to continue to expand eastward. Deploy weapons in the former Soviet Union countries, etc.
“Belarus’s consideration of proposing the deployment of nuclear weapons, threats to deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles, etc. now says that there will be no ‘European missile crisis’ in the short term.” Feng Yujun pointed out.
Regarding the two cards played by the Russian side in succession, the United States and NATO responded that Russia must first achieve a easing of the situation with Ukraine to negotiate a security treaty with NATO.
NATO Deputy Secretary-General Mircha Jevana said that NATO may discuss the elements of Russia’s proposed security agreement, but “all this can only be done when Russia eases the situation with its neighbors”. He stressed: “In my opinion, this is a necessary condition for the resumption of dialogue within the framework of the Russian-NATO Council.”
Mircha Jevana also said that NATO was ready to deal with “any situation” if Russia continued its “aggressive” actions. Jewana also said that the Russian request in the draft treaty not to accept the accession of the former Soviet Union to NATO was unacceptable.
Dmitry Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, analyzed that Russia’s disclosure of the draft implies that they also think that the West is unlikely to accept these conditions. “This logically means that Russia has to rely on itself (through military and technical means) to ensure its own security.”