Referendum Paves Way for Belarus to Potentially Host Russian Nukes

Lukashenko said if the US or France deploy nukes to Belarus' borders, he would ask Putin for nuclear weapons

On Sunday, a referendum in Belarus approved a new constitution scrapping the country’s non-nuclear status. The move means that Belarus could potentially host Russian nuclear weapons.

Belarus agreed to give up its nuclear weapons to Russia in a 1994 agreement known as the Budapest Memorandum. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has led the country since 1994, said that if Western powers deploy nuclear weapons near Belarus, he would ask Russian President Vladimir Putin to return the weapons he once forfeited.

“If America, or you France, two nuclear powers, start transferring nuclear weapons to Poland or Lithuania, on our borders … I will go to Putin so that he will return to me the nuclear weapons that I, without any special conditions, gave to them,” Lukashenko said, according to CNN.

Lukashenko has grown closer to Putin since the US and EU have rejected the results of Belarus’ 2020 presidential elections that gave him another term. The non-recognition of the election has come with sanctions and Western support for Lukashenko’s opposition.

The US and EU attempt to isolate Lukashenko have led to the growing military ties that allowed Russia to attack Ukraine from Belarus’ territory. In another sign of growing ties, Lukashenko recently said that Putin promised him an attack on Belarus would be considered an attack on Russia.

Early on Monday, a US intelligence official said Belarus is expected to send troops into Ukraine. But later, a Pentagon official said there are no “indications” Belarus will join the invasion. “We have seen no indications that Belarusian troops are being readied to move into Ukraine and certainly no indications that they are in fact moving or are in Ukraine,” the official said.

Also on Monday, Lukashenko warned that Western sanctions on Russia could lead to a new world war. “In a situation like this, we should be aware that there are such sanctions. A great deal is being said about the banking sector. Gas, oil, SWIFT. It’s worse than war,” he said. “Russia is being pushed towards a third world war. We should be very reserved and steer clear of it. Because nuclear war is the end of everything.”

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.