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How are the feared tactical nuclear weapons that Putin will send to Belarus

The President of Russia, Vladimir Putinsurprised on Saturday by announcing that it will deploy tactical nuclear weapons in belarusthe allied country where he organized part of his invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The announcement was in response to the UK’s decision to supply depleted uranium ammunition to the Ukrainian military.

putin indicated that ten aircraft deployed in Belarus are “ready to use such weapons”and specified that he also transferred iskander missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

READ ALSO: How are the Kinzhal hypersonic missiles that Russia is using in Ukraine and why are they difficult to intercept?

The Russian president also referred to a “special deposit” to store nuclear weapons from July 1.

It is not the first time that putin talks about his nuclear weapons in the context of the war in Ukraine.

In March 2022, the president said be willing to use such weapons to defend their territory.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with the general director of PJSC RusHydro Viktor Khmarin in Moscow, on March 27, 2023. (EFE/EPA/MIKHAEL KLIMENTYEV / SPUTNIK / KREMLIN).

At the beginning of his invasion UkrainePutin claimed that he was mobilizing the “deterrent forces”which was interpreted as his nuclear weapons tactics.

Following Saturday’s announcement, Sunday Ukraine called for an urgent meeting at the UN Security Council to end Russian “nuclear blackmail”.

For its part, the European Union assured on Monday that it was “prepared for all scenarios”.

“As we already said before the start of the aggression of Russia (against Ukraine), we are prepared for all scenarios and we review that preparation as we watch the conflict unfold and the aggression escalate,” said the spokesman for Foreign Affairs of the European Union Peter Stano, during the daily press conference of the European Commission.

On the Moscow side, criticism of West of the weekend did not serve to lower the tone, quite the opposite. On Monday, the secretary of the Security Council of RussiaNikolai Patrushev, warned that Your country has modern weapons capable of destroying the United States if your nation’s existence is endangered.

Forgetting the lessons of history, some in the West are already talking about a revenge that will lead to military victory over Russia. In this regard, we can only say one thing (…). Russia possesses unique modern weaponry capable of destroying any adversary, including the United States, should its existence be threatened.”said Patrushev in an interview with the official newspaper “Rossiskaya Gazeta”.

The launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile from Russia that could be armed with nuclear weapons.  (Photo: AP).

The launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile from Russia that could be armed with nuclear weapons. (Photo: AP).

What are tactical nuclear weapons?

The CNN network explained that the weapons that putin plans to move to belarus are not the strategic Nuclear Weapons, the gigantic intercontinental ballistic missiles that, if fired, could wipe out life on Earth.

Instead, the tactical nukes They are small nuclear warheads with delivery systems intended for use on the battlefield or in a limited attack. But these weapons are also powerful.

The tactical nukes they vary enormously in size and power. The smallest can be one kiloton or less (equivalent to thousand tons of explosive TNT)according to BBC World.

the biggest can reach 100 kilotons.

Russia's tactical nuclear weapons.  (AFP).

Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons. (AFP).

To get an idea of ​​the destructive power of the tactical nukes you have to remember that The bomb dropped by the United States on Hiroshima in 1945 was 15 kilotons.. It killed 146,000 people.

So, the effects of tactical nukes they will depend on the size of the warhead that is launched, how far from the ground it detonates and the environment of the target of the attack.

The tactical nuclear weapons Russia They can be launched from ships, submarines, planes and shuttles like the iskanderwhich have been used in Ukraine.

tactical nuclear weapons are not included in any nuclear arms control agreementwhile the medium-range ones were in the Medium-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, in force from 1987 to 2018.

Russia has about 2,000 tactical nuclear bombsaccording to the intelligence of USA.

A Russian Iskander missile system.  (REUTERS/RIA Novosti)

A Russian Iskander missile system. (REUTERS/RIA Novosti)

BBC Mundo explained that these bombs can be placed on various types of missiles which are normally used to launch conventional projectiles.

They can even be fired like artillery shells on a battlefield.

Tactical nuclear weapons have never been used in conflict.

A CNN analysis to explain the decision of the Russian president maintains that at this time putin a man with many problems on the battlefield. His forces bombard Ukrainian cities from the air, but his ground war doesn’t make much headway.

Furthermore, regarding the role of belarussays that the tactical nukes reaching that territory would have to be maintained by Russian forces that would be permanently stationed on Belarusian soil, a sign that the president Alexander Lukashenko is even more under the control of putin.

In this file photo taken on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, Russian RS-24 Yars ballistic missiles are carried through Moscow's Red Square during the Victory Day military parade.  (ASSOCIATED PRESS).

In this file photo taken on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, Russian RS-24 Yars ballistic missiles are carried through Moscow’s Red Square during the Victory Day military parade. (ASSOCIATED PRESS).

Where else are there tactical nukes?

The United States has deployed tactical nuclear weapons in Europe for decades and several NATO countries have missiles capable of carrying conventional or nuclear charges, reports the AFP agency.

Currently, Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey have US nuclear warheads.

Is there a risk that tactical nuclear weapons will be used at some point? “Large-scale nuclear attacks are considered unfeasible. Strategic nuclear weapons are losing their deterrent value in a war between nuclear powers. Use of tactical nuclear weapons is more likelyin theory, so its possession would strengthen the deterrence of a country,” Nina Srinivasan Rathbun, professor of International Relations at the University of Southern California, United States, told Europa Press.

And about its possible use against UkraineNina Srinivasan Rathbun stated that it doesn’t seem very logical. “I think he would not achieve any military objective. It would contaminate territory that Russia considers part of its historical empire and would probably affect the Russian territory itself. It would increase the chances of direct NATO intervention and destroy Russia’s image in the world.”

Nuclear weapons in the world.  (AFP).

Nuclear weapons in the world. (AFP).

Source: Elcomercio

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