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MOSCOW — Russia will deploy tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus, President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday.

Putin made the announcement at a time of heightened tensions with the West war in ukraine Some Russian commentators have speculated about a possible nuclear attack.

Putin told state television that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko had previously raised the issue of deploying tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, which borders NATO member Poland.

“There is nothing unusual here either. First, the United States has been doing this for decades. They have been deploying tactical nuclear weapons on allied territory for a long time.”

“We have agreed to do the same without violating our international obligations on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.”

Putin did not specify when the weapons would be transferred to Belarus.

“Tactical” Nuclear Weapons See those used for a particular benefit on the battlefield.

Putin said Russia plans to complete the construction of a tactical nuclear weapons storage facility in Belarus by July 1, adding that Russia will not actually transfer control of the weapons to Minsk.

The U.S. State Department and the Pentagon did not immediately return messages requesting comment.

Russia has 10 aircraft stationed in Belarus that can carry tactical nuclear weapons, he said, adding that Moscow has already transferred many Iskandar tactical missile systems to Belarus that can be used to launch nuclear weapons.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, nuclear weapons were deployed in four newly independent countries: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

In May 1992, the four countries agreed to deploy all their weapons in Russia, and the transfer of warheads from Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan was completed in 1996.Reuters Putin says Russia will deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus for first time since 1990s

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