Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in the former Soviet republic of Belarus. The governments in Moscow and Minsk had agreed on this, Putin said on state television on Saturday evening. The Russian President also announced that depleted uranium missiles would be used in Ukraine if Kiev received such ammunition from the West.

With such a stationing, Russia does not violate international treaties, the Kremlin chief emphasized. Russia has been waging a war of aggression against Ukraine for more than a year. Belarus and its ruler Alexander Lukashenko are among Moscow’s closest allies.

Tactical nuclear weapons have a shorter range than ICBMs. This is Russia’s response to tensions with NATO over the course of Putin’s war against Ukraine. Specifically, it is a reaction to the possible delivery of uranium ammunition from Great Britain to Ukraine. The projectiles with depleted uranium have a special impact, for example to destroy tanks.

The Belarusian ruler Lukashenko had long asked for nuclear weapons to be stationed on his territory, Putin said on television. Iskander missile complexes have also been handed over to the neighboring country. The Kremlin chief announced that the construction of a nuclear weapons bay in Belarus will be completed on July 1. There was initially no information from Minsk.

In the past, Putin has repeatedly called on the United States to withdraw nuclear weapons from Germany because Moscow sees this as a threat to its security. Russia is not stationing any strategic nuclear weapons in Belarus that could reach the United States, for example. The range of tactical nuclear weapons is given as several hundred kilometers. The explosive effect is therefore between 1 and 50 kilotons of TNT.