Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said on Thursday that son country could harbor nuclear weapons if it did face to one menace external as tensions soar between allied Russia and the West over Ukraine.
“If necessary, if such a stupid and stupid steps are taken by our rivals and adversarieswe will not only deploy nuclear weapons, but super-nuclear and up-and-coming to protect our territory,” Lukashenko said, according to the state-run Belta news agency.
He also said that Belarus was considering buying several surface-to-surface Russian S-400sair missile systems place near the capital Minsk, as reported by Reuters.
Earlier, Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said that “not a single” Russian soldier remain in the country after the gigantic joint maneuvers of Minsk and Moscow on End of the Ukrainian border.
“Not a single (Russian) soldier or a single unit of military equipment will stay on the territory of Belarus after the exercises with Russia,” Makei told a press conference. in the capital Minsk. He said that the Ministry of Defense and Lukashenko had made this clear.
Russia this week announced the end of some military exercises near the borders of Ukraine, including those in Belarus. But the West remains fearful of a possible attack on Ukraine, saying it has yet to see evidence of real de-escalation.
NATO called Russia’s exercises in Belarus particularly alarming, claiming to have marked a “dangerous” moment for Europe.
Makei called a phone call between Ukraine and Belarus defense ministers this week as “positive”, saying it had helped “to ease tensions”.
Minsk had told Kiev that “what is happening on the border does not mean that someone plans to transport out an act of aggression.”
“Neither Moscow, nor Minsk, nor Kiev” want war, he said.
Kyiv had also describes the defense call as positive.
Ukraine defense minister said on Wednesday that Kiev military the attaché had visited the exercises in Belarus the day before, and that the Belarusian attache would attend exercises in Western Ukraine on Wednesday.
Belarus, ruled by Lukashenko since 1994, borders both Ukraine and Russia.
Increasingly isolated after violently suppressing mass protests in 2020, Lukashenko has become more dependent on son more grand Russian neighbor for support.
Minsk has often walked a fine line in disputes between Kyiv and Moscow.