Putin planned to deploy nukes in Belarus before full-scale invasion of Ukraine – ISW

26 March, 01:00 PM
Vladimir Putin (Photo:Sputnik/Gavriil Grigorov/Kremlin via REUTERS)

Vladimir Putin (Photo:Sputnik/Gavriil Grigorov/Kremlin via REUTERS)

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin had intended to deploy tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine but held off to exploit them in a disinformation campaign against the West, U.S.-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW), wrote in its March 25 summary. 

Self-proclaimed president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko offered to host Russia nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory on Nov. 30, 2021, and Belarus removed the constitutional clause enshrining the country’s neutral status in a referendum in February 2022, analysts said.

In January and February 2022, ISW experts predicted that Putin “might seek to deploy tactical or strategic nuclear weapons to Belarus as part of a broader effort to deepen Russian control over Belarus.”

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“Putin likely refrained from deploying the weapons to Belarus at the start of the 2022 invasion in order to preserve the option to deploy them as part of a future Russian information operation to manipulate the West,” ISW said

Analysts say that the dictator’s statement regarding the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons has nothing to do with the risk of nuclear war, which remains extremely low.

The Kremlin dictator is intentionally exploiting the West’s anxieties about nuclear warfare by utilizing fallacious arguments, as he is threatening to employ nuclear arms without any actual plan to do so, ISW said.

Putin’s interview is directly linked to the anticipation of a Ukrainian counteroffensive, ISW analysts suggested.

“Many prominent Russian mill bloggers and officials have warned that Ukrainian forces will likely attempt a major counter-offensive soon. Putin’s actions suggest that he agrees and that he fears the potential success of a Ukrainian counter-offensive,” the report said.

On March 25, Kremlin dictator Vladimir Putin declared his plans to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus.

The UK announced on March 21 that it will transfer depleted uranium shells to Ukraine for use by Challenger-2 tanks.

Later that day, Putin claimed that “the Western collective is already starting to use weapons with a nuclear component,” and warned that Russia would have to “respond appropriately.”

According to the UK Ministry of Defense, Putin is intentionally spreading false information.

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