THE CHEKING PROCESS – This is what Vladimir Putin said during a discussion with his ally Alexander Lukashenko, who wants the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus.
Like an echo of the war thundering loudly in Ukraine, the thud of the nuclear duel between Washington and Moscow has never ceased to resonate. We remember as early as February 24 Vladimir Putin’s warning, promising “consequences you’ve never experienced before“to anyone”would try to interferewith his army. A particularly explicit message in the nuclear grammar inherited from the Cold War. “The Atlantic alliance is also a nuclear alliance“replied Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs. Then, it was the fear of the use of a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine which marked the month of April after the Russian army encountered resistance which it had not anticipated.
In recent days, the shadow theater has shifted geographically, towards Belarus. Recently, its president, Alexander Lukashenko, had already asked Vladimir Putin for Iskander-M missiles. And the Russian president acquiesced during a June 25 meeting in St. Petersburg with his ally, promising to provide Minsk with a “number of Iskander-M tactical missile systems in the coming months“. And to clarify:They can fire ballistic and cruise missiles with conventional and nuclear warheads“. The discussion did not stop there: Alexander Lukashenko asked Vladimir Putin for planes that could “carry nuclear payloads“.
The Russian president then maintained a certain vagueness in his response: he promised to “modernizein Russia a number of Sukhoi Su-25s that are in the Belarusian inventory. And to add enigmatically:You and I will agree how this will be done. And the pilots will have to undergo appropriate training“. This is all the more surprising since Minsk has already modernized its old ground attack aircraft itself. Why do it in Moscow? Moreover, these zincs, used for example in Ukraine to strike Ukrainian positions, have never had the mission of carrying nuclear weapons. While these words could have meant that Russia was going to think about nuclearizing its Western ally, Vladimir Putin continued to maintain the vagueness.
“In Europe, the Americans have 200 tactical nuclear weapons, in six European countries. For their eventual use, 257 planes were prepared, not only American but also belonging to the countries I mentioned“, affirmed the Russian president, concluding …