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EU Foreign Ministers to discuss Belarusian tactical nukes


EU Foreign Ministers to discuss Belarusian tactical nukes

The EU’s top foreign policymaking body meets in Brussels today.

The Foreign Affairs Council is set to discuss the war in Ukraine, focusing today on recent developments in Belarus. Russia has moved tactical nuclear weapons into Belarus which now advances its tactical nuke range several hundred miles closer to NATO territory.

The move is not likely intended to signal that Russia plans on using nuclear weapons against Ukraine for a tactical military benefit in the short to medium-term. The decision is more likely designed to aid Moscow in achieving its political objectives with respect to the war. Moving weapons into Belarus helps signal the strength of Russia’s alliance with Alexander Lukashenko’s Belarus. It also helps deter NATO from deploying ground troops to assist Ukraine’s efforts to repel the invasion. Finally, the weapons deter Ukraine from a counter-offensive against Belarus, Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory or Russia proper.

Additionally, in the long-term, deployment of the weapons bring Russia and the US—the country spending the most annually on funding NATO—further away from cooperation on nuclear non-proliferation. The only remaining nuclear arms control treaty in effect between the countries—the New START—was suspended unilaterally by Moscow last year and is unlikely to be restored by the US so long as nuclear weapons threaten NATO in Belarus.

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