[Photo Credit: By Presidential Executive Office of Russia - http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/70098/photos Presidential Executive Office of Russia, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=126725962]
Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, reportedly announced on Friday that Belarus has received the first nuclear weapons as part of a plan to place tactical nuclear bombs in the nation bordering Ukraine.
Putin predicted that the remaining nuclear weapons will arrive by the end of the summer when speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
As part of a tactic by Putin to maintain the danger of nuclear weapons in the minds of Western leaders who are strongly supporting Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, the two allied leaders initially announced the move back in March.
Short-range tactical nuclear weapons are being transferred by Moscow; while they have a smaller yield and shorter range than nuclear warheads attached to ballistic missiles, they are nevertheless capable of causing enormous devastation that is significantly more than that caused by the bombs dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II.
Belarus was one of four former Soviet Union countries, along with Ukraine, that delivered nuclear weapons to Russia after the Soviet Union fell apart in the early 1990s.
The return of the nuclear weapons to Belarus is Russia’s first nuclear weapon transfer since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
The use of nuclear weapons by Russia would only be for self-defense, according to Putin’s later comments.