Belarus has provided logistic support to Moscow since the 24 February invasion, particularly in the first few weeks, and like Russia has been targeted by Western sanctions but is officially not involved in the conflict
Russia will deliver missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads to Belarus in the coming months, President Vladimir Putin said Saturday as he received Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko.
“In the coming months, we will transfer to Belarus Iskander-M tactical missile systems, which can use ballistic or cruise missiles, in their conventional and nuclear versions,” Putin said in a broadcast on Russian television at the start of his meeting with Lukashenko in Saint Petersburg.
He also offered to upgrade Belarus’ warplanes to make them capable of carrying nuclear weapons, amid soaring tensions with the West over Ukraine.
“Many Su-25 (aircraft) are in service with the Belarusian military. They could be upgraded in an appropriate way,” the Russian leader said.
“This modernisation should be carried out in aircraft factories in Russia and the training of personnel should start in accordance with this,” he added, after Lukashenko asked him to “adapt” the planes.
“We will agree on how to accomplish this,” Putin said.
Putin has several times referred to nuclear weapons since his country launched an attack on Ukraine, in what the West has seen as a warning against intervention.
Lukashenko said last month that his country had bought Iskander nuclear-capable missiles and S-400 anti-aircraft anti-missile systems from Russia.
Ukraine reports attack from Belarus
Meanwhile, Putin’s announcement came on the day Ukraine said it came under “massive bombardment” Saturday from neighbouring Belarus, a Russian ally not officially involved in the conflict, as clashes were reported in the streets of the eastern city of Lysychansk.
Twenty rockets “fired from the territory of Belarus and from the air” targeted the village of Desna in the northern Chernigiv region, Ukraine’s northern military command said.
It said infrastructure was hit, but no casualties had yet been reported.
Belarus has provided logistic support to Moscow since the 24 February invasion, particularly in the first few weeks, and like Russia has been targeted by Western sanctions — but is officially not involved in the conflict.
With inputs from AFP