Russian President Vladimir Putin, while receiving the Belarusian leader, said that Russia will deliver missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads to Belarus in the coming months. Alexander Lukashenko.
“In the coming months, we will move to Belarus “Iskander-M tactical missile systems that can use ballistic missiles or cruise missiles in their conventional and nuclear versions,” Putin said in a Russian television broadcast at the start of his meeting with Lukashenko in St. Petersburg on Saturday.
Putin has referred to nuclear weapons several times since his country launched a military operation in Ukraine on February 24, in what the West viewed as Warning not to interfere. Lukashenko said last month that his country had bought from Russia nuclear-capable Iskander missiles and S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems.
The development came on the eve of a meeting of G7 leaders in Germany On Sunday, he will be hosted by Chancellor Olaf Schultz in the Bavarian Alps, which is set to be dominated by Ukraine and its far-reaching consequences, from energy shortages to food crisis.
It is expected that the G7 leaders will seek to show a united front in support Ukraine This has always been necessary and ramps up pressure on the Kremlin – though they will want to avoid sanctions that could drive up inflation and exacerbate the global cost of living crisis.
An EU official said: “The main message from the G7 will be unity and coordination of action… This is the main message, that even in difficult times… we hold on to our alliance.”
G7 partners are set to agree to ban gold imports from RussiaA source familiar with the matter told Reuters. A German government source later said the leaders were in “really constructive” talks about setting a potential price cap for Russian oil imports.
This year, Schulz invited, as partner countries, Senegal, the current chair of the African Union, Argentina, which chairs the Group of Latin American and Caribbean nations, Indonesia and India, current and next hosts of the Group of 20 major industrialized nations, and South Africa.
“The summit should not only send the message that NATO and the G7 are more united than ever, but also that the democracies of the world stand together against Putin’s imperialism just as they do in the fight against hunger and poverty,” Schultz said. Parliament this week.
Putin also offered to upgrade Belarus’ warplanes to make them capable of carrying nuclear weapons, amid rising tensions with the West over Ukraine.
“Many Su-25 [aircraft] In service with the Belarusian army. “They can be promoted in an appropriate way,” the Russian leader said. “This modernization should be carried out at aircraft factories in Russia and personnel training should begin accordingly,” he added, after Lukashenko asked him to “adapt” the planes.
“We will agree on how to achieve this,” Putin said.
During the meeting, Lukashenko expressed concern about the “aggressive”, “confrontational” and “hateful” policies of its neighbors Lithuania and Poland, and asked Putin to help Belarus in a “symmetric response” to what he said were nuclear-armed NATO flights near the Belarus border. Putin said he did not see the need at the moment for a symmetrical response.
The Iskander-M, a mobile guided missile system NATO dubbed the “SS-26 Stone”, replaced the Soviet Scud missile. Its dual-guided missiles have a range of 500 kilometers (300 miles) and can carry conventional or nuclear warheads.
Last week, Lithuania in particular infuriated Russia by blocking the transit of goods subject to European sanctions through its territory from Russia, through Belarus, to Russia’s Baltic region of Kaliningrad.
Russia called it a “blockade,” but Lithuania says it affects only 1% of normal cargo passing on the road, and that passenger traffic has not been affected.
With Agence France-Presse and Reuters
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