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Moscow to deploy tactical nuclear weapons near Belarus' border with NATO countries: Russian envoy

Tallinn: Russian Ambassador to Belarus on Sunday said that Moscow will deploy tactical nuclear weapons near Belarus' border with NATO countries amid increasing tension with the US over the Ukraine war, reported Los Angeles Times.
Ambassador Boris Gryzlov, speaking in remarks broadcast late Sunday by Belarusian state television, said the Russian nuclear weapons will be "moved up close to the Western border of our union state" but did not give any precise location. "It will expand our defence capability, and it will be done regardless of all the noise in Europe and the United States," he said in a reference to Western criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision.
Earlier, Putin made a statement about plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in the territory of Russia's neighbour and ally, reported ABC News.
Putin has said that the construction of storage facilities for tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus will be complete by July 1 and added that Russia has helped modernize Belarusian warplanes to make them capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
The two neighbours have an agreement envisioning close economic, political and military ties. Russia used Belarusian territory as a staging ground for invading Ukraine and has maintained a contingent of troops and weapons there.
Belarus shares a 1,250-kilometer border with NATO members Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
Tactical nuclear weapons, which are intended to destroy enemy troops and weapons on the battlefield, have a relatively short range and a much lower yield compared with nuclear warheads fitted to long-range strategic missiles that are capable of obliterating whole cities.
The deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus would put them closer to potential targets in Ukraine and NATO members in Eastern and Central Europe.
On Friday, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko also said that some of Russia's strategic nuclear weapons might be deployed in Belarus along with part of Russia's tactical nuclear arsenal.
Earlier in late March, Belarus blamed "unprecedented pressure" from the United States, Great Britain and their NATO allies for the decision to host Russian tactical weapons in its territory, according to the statement released by Belarus' Foreign Ministry in response to TASS agency's question.
According to the statement, Belarus said, "Over the past two and a half years, the Republic of Belarus has been subjected to unprecedented political, economic and informational pressure from the United States, Great Britain and their NATO allies, as well as the member states of the European Union."
Meanwhile, Russia's Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, on Monday, claimed to have hoisted the country's flag on Ukraine's Bakhmut city hall, and said that they have technically captured it, TASS reported.
Giving details about the incident, Prigozhin said, "April 2, 23:00 precisely. Behind me is the building of [Artyomovsk's] city administration. This Russian flag is for Vladlen Tatarsky, [the Russian military reporter killed in a blast in St Petersburg on Sunday]," according to the TASS agency citing the Telegram channel of the Wagner Group founder's press service. "In grateful memory," is written on this flag. (ANI)

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