(MENAFN) On Saturday, President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia will be stationing tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus, marking the first time since the mid-1990s that Moscow will have based such arms outside the country. President Alexander Lukashenko has long raised the issue of putting tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, which borders Poland. Putin stated that such a move would not violate nuclear non-proliferation agreements, as the US had stationed nuclear weapons on the territory of European allies. 
Putin emphasized that the agreement would not violate international obligations on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Russia will not be transferring control of the arms to Minsk, he added. Russia will have completed the construction of a storage facility for the weapons in Belarus by July 1. 
The development is significant, as Russia had until now been boasting that unlike the US, it did not deploy nuclear weapons outside its borders. Experts say that the move is part of Putin's game to try to intimidate NATO, as Belarus has borders with three NATO members - Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia. 
Hans Kristensen, director of the nuclear information project at the Federation of American Scientists, stated that there is no military utility from doing this in Belarus as Russia has so many of these weapons and forces inside Russia. 
The move to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus has raised concerns among neighboring countries and international organizations. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has stated that the alliance would closely monitor the situation and called on Russia to be transparent about its military activities. 
The deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus is a significant development that could have far-reaching consequences for international security. It is important for all parties involved to exercise caution and engage in dialogue to prevent an escalation of tensions in the region.
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