- Alexander Lukashenko said there will be “nuclear weapons for everyone” who joins Russia and Belarus.
- The comment came after Belarus agreed to host Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons.
- Vladimir Putin has repeatedly threatened nuclear escalation since invading Ukraine.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Sunday promised nuclear weapons to any nation who supports his country and Russia.
Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, made the comment Sunday after Belarus agreed to host Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons.
“It’s very simple. You have to join the union between Belarus and Russia, and that’s it: There will be nuclear weapons for everyone,” Lukashenko said in a clip aired on Russian state TV, according to NBC News.
“We need to strategically understand that we have a unique chance to unite,” Lukashenko added. He was responding to a comment made Wednesday by the president of Kazakhstan, who said Russia and Belarus are so close that “even nuclear weapons are shared between the two.”
Russia has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world. Belarus does not actually have its own nuclear weapons, having given them all to Russia in the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Putin has issued escalating nuclear threats since invaded Ukraine in February last year. But the mounting threats have led some adversaries to shrug him off, doubting he would actually resort to using nuclear weapons, Insider’s John Haltiwanger previously reported.
Belarus agreed to host Moscow’s nuclear weapons last week. Alexander Volfovich, state secretary of Belarus’ Security Council, said Sunday the deal was meant to deter aggression from the West after the US and its NATO allies continue provide military aide to Ukraine.
The agreement comes as Ukraine continues to prepare for a highly anticipated counteroffensive supported by US- and NATO-supplied weapons.