Belarusian president and close ally of Putin Lukashenko did not mince words last Friday. In his trademark style, he brashly told state-owned news agency Belta that his country would “not hesitate to use nuclear weapons” in case of provocation by the West.
The Belarusian leader touted his country’s fighter jets, now retrofitted so they could be equipped with nuclear weapons. While Belarus has no nuclear arsenal of its own make, after a referendum held earlier this year, it can receive nuclear weaponry from its Russian ally.
With the availability of Sukhoi Su-24 fighter jets, formerly used by the Soviets, these “can be deployed immediately to respond to threats in the face of mounting tensions with the West,” he said.
Referring to recent U.S. mobilisations of its aircraft as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, Lukashenko added that the West “must understand that no helicopters or planes will save them if they decide to aggravate the situation,” and that in that case, Belarus has already designated its targets, more specifically, “decision-making centers.”
Yet, he ensured that he does not “threaten anyone,” and that one should not be worried. “They keep an eye on us while we keep an eye on them,” he added, while emphasizing that currently, all is relatively quiet at the Polish-Belarusian border, and that he does not expect trouble coming out of Warsaw anytime soon.
As previously reported by The European Conservative, even before the war, Poland and Belarus were at odds with each other; Warsaw accused Minsk of using migrants crossing the Polish border as weapons in a hybrid war with the EU.
Before the Ukrainian conflict flared up last February, Belarus granted Russia the use of its military bases from which Moscow launched its attacks on neighboring Ukraine.
Economically, Belarus remains highly reliant on its ally, especially after being sanctioned by western nations for its crackdown on protests against Lukashenko’s rule.