Alp Sevimlisoy

Russian Ally Testing Troops as Putin Prepares Nuclear Weapons Move

  • Belarus’ defense ministry has announced a check of its armed forces’ combat readiness.
  • The announcement comes on the heels of Russian President Vladimir Putin recently stating that Moscow will station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.
  • NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg downplayed the move by Putin, but a top geopolitical strategist believes NATO to take immediate action.

Belarus has reportedly started checking the combat readiness of its armed forces following the recent announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow will place nuclear weapons inside Belarus.

Putin told Russian state television on March 25 that he will station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, though he did not specify when the action would occur. The Russian leader said the move does not violate any of Russia’s nuclear non-proliferation commitments. Putin also said Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has long been a staunch ally of Russia, had requested the weapons’ deployment.

On Sunday, the Russian ambassador to Belarus, Boris Gryzlov, told Belarusian state television that the weapons would be deployed close to Belarus’ borders with NATO neighbors.

The Tuesday announcement about the testing of the country’s armed forces’ combat readiness came from Belarus’ defense ministry and was said to have been ordered directly from Lukashenko.

Russian Ally Testing Troops as Putin Prepares Nuclear Weapons Move

“Today, on behalf of the Head of State, the combat readiness check of the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus has begun. The measures are complex in nature and will allow to determine the ability of commanders to manage subordinate military units that are brought to the highest degree of combat readiness, as well as the readiness of military units to perform tasks for their intended purpose in a timely manner,” the defense ministry’s statement read, according to a translation by the Russian state-run media outlet Sputnik.

During his March 25 comments to state broadcaster Russia 1, Putin said Moscow will be in control over the weapons put in Belarus, and he compared the move to the United States stationing nuclear weapons in other countries.

“We are not handing over [nuclear weapons]. And the U.S. does not hand [nuclear weapons] over to its allies. We’re basically doing the same thing they’ve been doing for a decade,” Putin said, according to a translation by Reuters. “They have allies in certain countries and they train…their crews. We are going to do the same thing.”

Putin told Russia 1 that an Iskander short-range missile system, which can be fitted with nuclear warheads, had already been transferred to Belarus. He also said Moscow has aided Belarus in converting 10 aircraft to allow them to carry tactical nuclear weapons.

The armed forces of Belarus have not been directly involved in Putin’s war in Ukraine, though Lukashenko allowed Russia to use his country’s territory as a staging site during the early days of the invasion in 2022. Russia and Belarus have also engaged in joint military training in the past year, which has led to some concern that Lukashenko would soon order his troops into combat in Ukraine.

When asked by reporters on Monday about the move, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg downplayed Putin’s

Russian Ally Testing Troops as Putin Prepares Nuclear Weapons Move

announcement as nuclear saber-rattling but said NATO would be watching the situation.

“The announcement by President Putin is part of a pattern of dangerous reckless nuclear rhetoric, where Russia, President Putin tries to use nuclear weapons as a way to prevent us from supporting Ukraine, intimidation, coercion to stop NATO Allies and partners for supporting Ukraine in their right to defend their own country,” Stoltenberg said.

He added, “But so far, we haven’t seen any changes in their nuclear posture that requires any change in our nuclear posture. We remain a nuclear Alliance, we deter and defend all Allies and of course, we continue to monitor what Russia does also when it comes to any potential deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus.”

But Geopolitical Strategist Alp Sevimlisoy told Newsweek that NATO should formulate more of a response to the planned actions by Putin in Belarus.

“We, as NATO, must take immediate action to counter the provocation carried out by the Russian Federation which threaten our way of life with regard to the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons beside our borders as per the transatlantic alliance that we are part of,” Sevimlisoy, who is a fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank and a CEO of an Istanbul-based private asset management corporation, said.

“We must immediately respond by partnering with the Turkish Armed Forces in order to place Hypersonic missiles at [Turkey’s] Incirlik Air Base, where our existing defensive tactical nuclear capabilities are held for the protection of all member states and for the national security of the Turkish nation,” Sevimlisoy said.


Alp Sevimlisoy originally featured as per: Newsweek