Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday announced that Russia would supply Belarus with missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
While speaking with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko in Moscow, Putin said that Russia would transfer to Belarus Iskander-M tactical missile systems, which can use ballistic or cruise missiles, in their conventional and nuclear versions, Reuters reports.
Lukashenko asked Putin to help Belarus mount a “symmetrical response” to what he said were nuclear-armed flights by the U.S.-led NATO alliance near Belarus’s borders.
With the soaring tensions in the war against Ukraine, Putin offered to upgrade Belarusian warplanes to make them capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
Earlier in February, Russia used Belarusian territory to fight against Ukraine. In addition, Moscow has used Minsk as a satellite base, including for many of Russia’s air operations in Ukraine.
“Minsk must be ready for anything, even the use of serious weaponry to defend our fatherland from Brest to Vladivostok,” Putin said.
On Saturday, Ukraine claimed that Russian forces had fired multiple missiles on the Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy regions from Belarus.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that 45 Russian missiles hit broad areas on Saturday, including the country’s northern, southern, and western parts.