Opinion. Yahor Lebiadok on the deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus

Photo from the personal archive of Yahor Lebiadok
10 mins

На русском языке: Мнение. Егор Лебедок о размещении ядерного оружия в Беларуси
На беларускай мове: Меркаванне. Ягор Лебядок пра размяшчэнне ядзернай зброі ў Беларусі

Columnist Yahor Lebiadok in his Telegram channel published a post in which he analyzes Lukashenka’s proposal to return nuclear weapons to Belarus. We quote his words unchanged.

Alexander Lukashenka said that in case of deployment of nuclear weapons in Poland, he will offer Putin to return nuclear weapons to Belarus. This was a response to the statement of Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General. On November 19, 2021, in the context of the change of leadership of Germany, which houses the main NATO nuclear arsenal in Europe, he said: of course Germany can decide whether it will have nuclear weapons, but the alternative is that nuclear weapons will be in other European countries, also east of Germany.

Russia has significantly more options for deploying tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus than NATO in Europe, where only B61 nuclear bombs are deployed (according to open data), while the Russian Federation has the ability to deploy nuclear bombs, operational-tactical missile systems with nuclear weapons, as well as nuclear weapons for artillery and even nuclear mines. Thus, the possibilities of rapid use of nuclear weapons in the Russian Federation are noticeably greater in our theater of operation than in NATO: aircraft are tracked by air defense, but, for example, artillery with nuclear weapons, although it is possible to track, but it is more difficult to understand in which gun a nuclear weapon is. All self-propelled artillery capable of using weapons of military equipment (for example, the 2s3 self-propelled gun) in this case should be perceived as a potential carrier of weapons, which means that it is necessary to significantly increase reconnaissance capabilities (which propaganda will later present as unfriendly actions of the West in preparation for war).

Obviously, we are not talking about the transfer of nuclear weapons by Russia to Belarus — this is a violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and would have consequences for the Russian Federation itself and security in the world. If deployed in Belarus, the NW will be under the control of Russia, i.e. Belarus will not really affect its use anyway, as it was in the period after the collapse of the USSR and before the collapse in general, too. The deployment of tactical weapons in Belarus makes our territory one of the main targets for striking with various forces and means in the event of a war with Russia, even when distancing Belarus from the war. Here it is appropriate to recall the words of A. Kostenko , the commander of the Belarusian Military District, in a discussion on the expediency of nuclear weapons in Belarus in 1991: «In the conditions of the defensive doctrine, defending within the republic, we, perhaps, according to plans, should have used such [nuclear] weapons. With the beginning of the war, the use of these weapons is planned — these are not just dozens of Chernobyls on earth, not only disable the material basis of vast living spaces, but also the undermining or destruction of the nation’s gene pool to an unrepairable level, and no decisive goals of the war are worth such a task».

There is no special need for the Russian Federation to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus in the context of countering Poland. Since September 2020, Russians have been training missile and bomb strikes with strategic bombers from the airspace of Belarus on neighboring countries. Partly to ensure greater reliability of the strike, there is an increase in air defense in Belarus, the deployment of the Russian S-400, etc.

The statement «I, as a diligent owner, have not destroyed anything [the infrastructure for nuclear weapons left over from the days of the USSR], all the sheds are still standing» everyone can check personally, walking through the repair and technical bases of the former USSR to see how different they are from sheds. In reality, the infrastructure will require a serious investment of time and money. As well as the equipment of such bases in Poland.

On November 28, 2021, Jens Stoltenberg said about his statement of November 19: «Germany will continue to participate in the joint use of nuclear weapons, and therefore this is no longer a problem«. Therefore, Lukashenka’s statement is at least belated. It is particularly noteworthy that on November 30, the CSTO, which includes Belarus, stated: «The CSTO member states urge the states parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons that possess nuclear weapons to confine themselves to their deployment on their territories without their deployment abroad, to eliminate all infrastructure that allows to ensure the rapid deployment of these weapons on the territory of non-nuclear states».

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