Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko expressed his view that if any other nation desired to join a Russia-Belarus alliance, it could potentially involve “nuclear weapons for everyone.”
Recently, Russia proceeded with a plan to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, marking the first deployment of such warheads outside of Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. This development has raised concerns in Western countries.
During an interview on Russia’s state television on Sunday, Lukashenko, a steadfast ally of President Vladimir Putin among Russia’s neighboring countries, emphasized the strategic significance of recognizing the exceptional opportunity for Minsk and Moscow to unite.
He clarified that his statement was his personal opinion and did not reflect the stance of Russia.
Russia and Belarus are officially part of a Union State, which entails a borderless union and alliance between these two former Soviet republics.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, whose country with a population of 20 million shares close historical ties with Moscow but has declined to recognize Russia’s annexation of certain parts of Ukraine, disregarded Lukashenko’s invitation to join the union.
“I took his remark as a jest,” stated Tokayev’s office, quoting him on Telegram, further noting that Kazakhstan is already a member of a broader Russian-led trade bloc, the Eurasian Economic Union, and thus no further integration is deemed necessary.
“As for nuclear weapons, we do not need them because we have joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty,” he said in a remark which could be interpreted as a sting to Moscow and Minsk.
“We remain committed to our obligations under those international documents.”
In February of last year, Russia utilized Belarus as a launching point for its invasion of its neighboring country, Ukraine. Since then, their military collaboration has grown stronger, marked by joint training exercises conducted on Belarusian territory.
On Sunday, the Belarusian Defense Ministry announced the arrival of another unit of the S-400 mobile surface-to-air missile systems from Moscow. These systems are expected to be prepared for combat duty in the near future.