New doctrine in Russia ally Belarus for the first time provides for using nuclear weapons

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The defense minister of Belarus said Tuesday that the country closely allied with Russia will put forth a new military doctrine that for the first time provides for the use of nuclear weapons.

Russia last year sent tactical nuclear weapons to be stationed in Belarus, although there are no details about how many. Russia has said it will maintain control over those weapons, which are intended for battlefield use and have short ranges and comparatively low yields.

It was not immediately clear how the new doctrine might be applied to the Russian weapons.

“We clearly communicate Belarus’ views on the use of tactical nuclear weapons stationed on our territory,” Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin said at a meeting of Belarus’ Security Council. “A new chapter has appeared, where we clearly define our allied obligations to our allies.”

The doctrine is to be presented for approval to the All-Belarusian People’s Assembly, a representative body that operates in Belarus in parallel with the parliament.

Russia used Belarus territory as a springboard to send its troops into Ukraine on February 24, 2022, and has maintained its military bases and weapons there, although Belarusian troops have not taken part in the war.

Security Council Secretary Alexander Volfovich said that the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus is intended to deter aggression from Poland, a NATO member.

“Unfortunately, statements by our neighbors, in particular Poland … forced us to strengthen” the military doctrine, he said.

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