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Vladimir Putin’s deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus has the potential to result in the creation of a situation similar to North Korea within Europe, a defence analyst has warned. Putin recently announced that Russia has already helped convert Belarusian aircraft to carry nuclear weapons. Security expert Dr Jacek Raubo believes the move is a way to further subordinate the regime of Alexander Lukashenko to Moscow’s will, as Putin looks to emulate the nuclear brinkmanship of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.
Dr Raubo, from the Poland-based outlet DEFENCE24 told Express.co.uk: “The potential action of the Kremlin with the deployment of nuclear weapons to Belarus is a possible scenario of building something like DPRK inside Europe.
“Especially since Russians feel confident primarily in relations with pariahs in international relations, they can blackmail the world with them, and they can show them as a contrast to their own country, and, above all, they can sell them if there is even a tiny chance to strengthen their international position.”
He added: “The appearance of nuclear weapons in Belarus is also a game for further vassalage of this country.
“Once because these weapons of mass destruction, these systems require a permanent and increased military component from Russia, but we must also take into account the fact that along with the weapons of mass destruction, there will be an enhanced component of not only physical military protection, but Belarus will have to accept even greater Russian intelligence penetration.
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The defence expert also noted that in addition, the presence of nuclear weapons in Belarus will result in more international pressure on the Belarusian government, limiting their ability to present themselves as neutral.
Mr Raubo said: “With Russia’s nuclear weapons comes even more international pressure. The Belarusian regime will have a significantly limited sphere for manoeuvring and presenting itself as an entity de facto still between Russia and highly specific ‘neutrality’.”
He told Express.co.uk that he is not surprised by how the Kremlin handles weapons of mass destruction, and as noted many aspects of Russia’s nuclear strategy, which bears striking similarities to North Korea’s own.
Moscow has been accused of constantly threatening nuclear escalation with the West and targeting nuclear infrastructure to cause panic.
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Russia wants to show that any weakness in their state will be covered up with nuclear threats, according to Dr Raubo.
He said: “Russia wants to cause panic. They want to signal, like the DPRK, that any systemic weakness of the state will be covered up with nuclear threats against others.
“But apart from symbolic matters, the Russians want to implement something like a widely reported de-escalation strike campaign.
“However, we are talking not about the physical detonation of, for example, a tactical warhead but the continuous introduction of small political and military escalations, which will result in obtaining the possibility of political and strategic concessions from the West.
“For example, Russia wants to have time to deal with Ukraine when the West fears an imminent nuclear apocalypse.
The external expert to the Polond’s Government Centre for Security argued it is important for NATO and the West to be confident in our deterrent power and not fall for Russian intimidation.
He said: “Russia thus became not so much a nuclear power as a ‘state of concern’ with nuclear weapons.
“This is not a good prognosis for the future, but it must also be noted that it is possible to function with a state such as DPRK. However, we must be confident in our deterrent power and never fall for Russian intimidation.”
On Tuesday, Lukashenko’s Foreign Ministry commented on the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory.
According to a report by BelTA, the Ministry argued by hosting Russian nuclear weapons, Belarus is simply “taking forced response actions to strengthen its own security and defence capability”.
The Belarusian Foreign Ministry released a statement, saying: “Military cooperation between Belarus and Russia is carried out in strict accordance with international law.
“Training of Belarusian pilots capable of flying aircraft with specific munitions, the modernization of such aircraft, as well as the deployment of nuclear warheads on the territory of Belarus without transferring control over them to Minsk, as well as access to relevant technologies, in no way contradict the provisions of Articles I and II of the NPT.”
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