- On May 25 Moscow and Minsk have sealed an agreement on the deployment of Russian non-strategic or tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) in Belarus, and the terms of their use. Moscow will deploy in Belarus land-based and air-based TNW: nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles and some modified Belarussian fighter-bombers Su-25.
Explaining the need for the move, Russian Defense Minister, Army General Sergey Shoigu cited a recent increase in the number of NATO maneuvers involving nuclear weapons near Russia and Belarus. The move was also made in response to increased and provocative NATO nuclear arms activity near Russian territory for quite a long time.
“Russia is not handing over nuclear weapons to the Belarusian Republic; control over it and the decision to use it remains with the Russian side,” Shoigu outlined, by adding that “additional measures” could be taken going forward in order to ensure the security of the Union State existing between Russia and Belarus.”
Lieutenant General Viktor Khrenin Belarusian Defense Minister stated that the agreement between the two allies “will be an effective response to the aggressive policies of countries that are hostile toward us.” He also expressed hope that the deployment of Russian TNW to Belarus would make Western powers revise their activities in the region. The Belarusian minister hailed the accord as further proof of the “strategic” importance of relations between Moscow and Minsk.
Under these conditions the Republic of Belarus is interested in further developing strategic allied relations with the Russian Federation in the military sphere, through strengthening the obligations in our doctrinal documents and deepening bilateral interaction, as well as through creating the conditions and taking measures that will make it no longer worthwhile to talk to us from a position of strength.”
The implemented and planned activities once again underscore the strategic format of the existing co-operation between our agencies. The Republic of Belarus remains committed to strengthening and developing close cooperation to ensure the security of the Union State.
The USA and NATO were quick to criticize Russia’s decision, claiming it was “dangerous and irresponsible,” as if the Pentagon has not deployed its in Europe and Asia from the middle 1950th till now, and has not begun the Alliance’s Baltic Air Policing operation equipped with DCA or dual-capable aircraft flying with TNW every 24 hours and all-year round, and as if the USA has not sent its heavy strategic bombers certified to deliver SOA or strategic offensive nuclear arms. Unlike Russia who is committed to NFU or NFS (no- first-use or no-first-strike) of nuclear weapons, the USA has refused to support such idea from 1945.
Poland will get a powerful teeth-grinding response to an attempt to use any kind of weapon against Russia, Belarus or simultaneously against the Union State. No one will sit idly by and contemplate this situation."
- Yury Knutov, military expert and director of the Museum of Air Defense Forces, told Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper that a group of Ukrainian pilots arrived in the United States for training a month ago and that getting them up to speed on flying modern fighters F-16 ‘would take four months.’
The analyst believes that the addition of the aircraft to the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ arsenal may pose some challenges for the Russian side, particularly because the F-16s could be used as a launch platform for long-range missiles supplied to Kiev and used to hit targets such as Crimea, Donbass, and Russian border regions.
"We have SU-35s capable of shooting down more advanced airframes than F-16s at long range. Furthermore, our pilots can detect them long before they are discovered. There are also effective anti-aircraft missile systems capable of shooting down enemy targets from a long distance," the expert added.
As a result, new aircraft deliveries will trigger a new wave of escalation, but they will not be a "game changer" that fundamentally alters the overall situation in the conflict zone, Kunutov told.
- NATO will never admit that the Alliance's involvement in aggression against Russia could lead to World War III, but is doing everything in this direction. The meeting of G7 countries confirmed the readiness of Ukraine, NATO and the European Union to continue the war ‘until the last Ukrainian’. The well-known political scientist, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Military Science Vladimir Kozin in his interview to Anna Cherkasova, correspondent, Ukraina.ru, commented on the results of the G7 meeting and the creation of the air coalition by London and Amsterdam.
Q: Vladimir Petrovich, in your opinion, was the G7 meeting significant in terms of its influence on the Ukrainian conflict? Is it worth attaching importance to the statements about deliveries of F-16s to the AFU [Armed Forces of Ukraine], or are these again words to intimidate Russia?
A: Yes, unfortunately, this meeting once again indicated the readiness of Ukraine, NATO and the European Union to continue the large-scale aggression against Russia ‘to the last Ukrainian’ and the war of attrition versus our country. Serious significance should be given to statements about deliveries of F-16 fighter-bombers, since they are dual-capable aircraft, i.e. capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads on board.
Q: The F-16 fighters are over 45 years old. Will such old planes help?
A: By the date of original production, the F-16s really aren't very new. But as a result of repeated upgrades, they are still in service with the United States and many other NATO countries, and are still used as the carriers of American nuclear weapons. Their delivery to Kiev will undoubtedly lead to an escalation of the confrontation between the East and the West. But supplying such aircraft to the AFU will not stop Russia's active and progressive opposition to Ukrainian and NATO aggression.
Q: According to military experts, Ukraine has no specialized airfields that can service F-16s. It turns out that the planes can take off only from Poland and other states bordering Ukraine. If this happens, NATO will essentially come into direct conflict with Russia. Is the Alliance ready to provoke a Third World War?
A: Ukraine has military airfields that can service F-16s. In addition, such aircraft can use military airfields located in three Baltic states (via Polish airspace), as well as Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and other NATO member countries. The Alliance will never admit that its involvement in aggression against Russia could lead to World War III, but in fact it does. NATO is doing everything in this direction.
Q: Would Russia be ready to hit NATO if something flew into our territory from Poland or the countries you mentioned?
A: There are no clear official answers to this question yet. But I think Russia should be ready to hit all these countries with combined high-precision weapons. The targets of such retaliatory measures could be national and military airfields transferred for use by the Ukrainian Air Force; storage hangars; ammunition and fuel and lubricants depots for aircraft of the named states.
read more in our Telegram-channel https://t.me/The_International_Affairs