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30 June 2022, 12:49

Lukashenko concerned about Western ‘nuclear' training flights

MINSK, 30 June (BelTA) – Belarus and Russia have yet to resort to a mirrored response to Western aviation's flights, which practice using nuclear weapons. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement as he met with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov in Minsk on 30 June, BelTA has learned.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “It was not staged. Including nuclear weapons and the rest. We've made another half-step. They are flying and training after all. Why are they training? Why are they carrying nuclear drill rounds? In order to load a nuclear bomb into an aircraft and drop it where necessary tomorrow. This is why we have yet to resort to a mirrored response. Russia has nuclear ammunition depots, we don't. And as Putin said correctly, their nuclear warheads are located in six sites, in six countries.”

Sergey Lavrov remarked: “And for so many years they have been flying and letting pilots of non-nuclear countries to fly the aircraft designed for nuclear weapons.”

According to the Russian minister of foreign affairs, it is a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“But we have not done it yet. But we have to be ready,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

He recalled events of 1941 when the Great Patriotic War began: “We have to keep our powder dry everywhere. And as for shouts that Putin has captured Belarus, that Putin does whatever he wants… We have a coordinated wise policy of two sovereign countries, for which [Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir] Makei and Lavrov are primarily responsible.”

“Under the leadership of the commanders-in-chief,” Sergey Lavrov added.

Aleksandr Lukashenko responded by saying: “But you advise us. Yet it does not waive our responsibility. We absolutely rationally understand what is going on around us. And it is better to show what may happen than for the real thing to happen. We don't need this war.”

BelTA reported earlier that during negotiations in St Petersburg on 25 June Aleksandr Lukashenko suggested to Vladimir Putin that it is necessary to take retaliatory steps in the military sphere in response to actions of the West. In particular, Aleksandr Lukashenko referred to flights of USA and NATO aircraft, which are training to carry nuclear warheads: “It is very stressful for us. This is why I ask you to consider a tit-for-tat response to these things. Without overdoing it. They are training to carry nuclear warheads. Please, help us at least adjust the aircraft we have for carrying nuclear payloads. I am not saying that we or you will transport nuclear ammunition over there tomorrow. But we cannot joke about it. We remember 1941 when we were lulled into a false sense of security.”

In turn, speaking about security matters, Vladimir Putin pointed out that Americans keep 200 rounds of tactical nuclear ammunition in Europe. Those are primarily nuclear bombs. The nuclear ammunition is stored in six European countries, which are NATO members. “As many as 257 aircraft have been prepared for employing the nuclear ammunition. Not only American aircraft but also aircraft of the countries I've mentioned,” Vladimir Putin explained.

“Is there no base like that in Russia?” Aleksandr Lukashenko wondered.

“There are none in Russia,” Vladimir Putin responded.

Vladimir Putin backed the proposal in favor of refitting the aircraft the Belarusian army has and in favor of starting the relevant pilot training program. Apart from that, Russia will hand over a number of tactical missile systems Iskander-M to Belarus within the next few months. They can fire ballistic and cruise missiles with conventional and nuclear warheads.

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