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August 22 – August 28, 2022
Security issues

Assessment of Minsk’s real capabilities in the field of nuclear weapons

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Assessment of Minsk’s real capabilities in the field of nuclear weapons
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/51686021@N07/33230171512/

An evaluation of the realism of Minsk’s nuclear ambitions is primarily based on Russian information.

On August 26th, Alexander Lukashenka returned to modernising the Belarusian Air Force to carry tactical nuclear weapons, following an agreement reached during a meeting with Vladimir Putin on June 25th. These works have apparently been completed, and Belarus has several nuclear-capable Su-24 aircraft. There is a likely caveat. Su-24s have been withdrawn from active service, partially sold, and partly donated as museum pieces. In addition, they were nuclear capable in the first place.

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Such developments confirm the opinion that the nuclear issue is a multifaceted political tool of the Belarusian regime, promoting anti-nuclear initiatives while highlighting its nuclear capabilities (however, vanishingly small). However, in addition to the political dimension, nuclear issues are an emotional reaction to the actions and statements of neighbouring countries.

The actual nuclear capabilities of Minsk should be assessed primarily from Russian information. Minsk’s statements, even at the highest level, are often speculative. It must be noted that previous reports about receiving the S-400 air defence system and the Iskander short-range ballistic missiles from Russia have never been confirmed. Moscow has traditionally been very conservative about reinforcing the military capabilities of its allies.

 

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of leading Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries to the most topical and relevant issues, including on behind the scenes processes ongoing in Belarus, in Russian and English.
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