Belarus to announce new military doctrine with nuclear weapons 30/01/2024 | Fabio Di Felice

The Defense Minister of Belarus, Viktor Khrenin, announced that the country will soon release a new military doctrine that, for the first time in the country’s history, allows the potential usage of nuclear weapons.

Following the Russian-Belarus military agreement signed in May 2023, the former transferred tactical nuclear weapons to the latter, a process that, in accordance with the 2 countries' Presidents’ declarations, had begun in June 2023 and completed during the year. At this stage, it is unknown how many tactical nuclear weapons have been sent to Belarus or what exactly the proposed doctrine entails. In accordance with the Nuclear Threat Initiative think tank, they should be tactical nuclear weapons that are technically built for battlefield use – not strategic ones - and have a range of up to 500 kilometers if launched by land and up to 600 kilometers if launched by air. Russian sources already rushed to confirm that Moscow will maintain control over those weapons. 

The new doctrine is going to be presented for approval to the All-Belarusian People’s Assembly, a representative body that runs in Belarus in parallel with the Parliament. Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin triumphally presented the initiative as a new chapter for the country which “clearly define our allied obligations to our allies.” Even if not officially involved in the Ukrainian conflict, and despite not having troops involved in it, Belarusian territory has been used by Russia as an easy passage point to send its troops into Ukraine at the beginning of 2022, and it has still maintained some military bases and weapons there. 

The reason behind Minsk's bold initiative is pretty clear in the words of Alexander Volfovich, Belarusian Security Council Secretary. It is intended to deter any aggression from Poland, and NATO, to the country. It has been motivated due to the announced Poland significant investment in military procurements and added capabilities. Despite the potential risk posed by the deployment of such weapons on Belarusian soil, Washington, through White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, has already announced that it has not changed the European theatre nuclear threat assessment and friendly forces’ posture. 

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(Picture: Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, left, and Belarusian Defense Minister, Viktor Khrenin, exchange documents during a meeting after a session of the Council of Defense Ministers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Minsk, Belarus, Thursday, May 25, 2023.)

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