NATO in worry as Belarus holds constitutional referendum to renounce ‘non-nuclear state’ status
The constitutional referendum to renounce ‘non-nuclear state’ status by Belarus comes at a time when Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered his Nuclear Forces to be on high alert.
The voters in Russia’s neighboring country Belarus have given their nod to the constitutional referendum that will allow the country to acquire nuclear weapons. According to the Belarusian Election Commission, some 65.2 percent of Belarusians took part in a referendum and voted in favor of the change. After the constitutional vote, Belarus now can bring nuclear weapons back on their soil for the first time, posting giving them up after the fall of the Soviet Union.
The main law sheds Belarus neutral status, which is opening the way for stronger military collaboration with Russia, which deployed armed forces to the Belarussian region under the pretext of military drills and then sent them to Ukraine as a part of the conquering that began on Thursday. Some of those forces quickly closed in on Kyiv, located just 75 kilometres south of the frontier.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, speaking at a polling station on Sunday, said that he could ask Russia to return nuclear weapons to Belarus. If you [the West] transfer nuclear weapons to Poland or Lithuania, to our borders, then I will turn to Putin to return the nuclear weapons that I gave away without any conditions,” Lukashenko said.
In a video clip, President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy had condemned Belarusians for allowing their country to be used as a staging ground for invading Russia, cities of Ukrain are facing an attack on a scale unseen since World War II when Belarus and Ukraine faced a Nazi invasion as parts of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, the Belarusian leader denigrates the Ukrainian President as a puppet of the US and charges that the Russian attack resulted from Zelenskyy’s failure to accept Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demand for Ukraine to renounce its bid to join NATO.
The Belarusian leader, who said that his country could host Russian nuclear weapons, warned French President Emmanuel Macron in a call on Saturday that he was ready to make the move if the U.S and its supporters deploy nuclear weapons to NATO members Poland and Lithuania.
The constitutional amendments bring back the limits on presidential terms that had been abolished during Lukashenko’s duration, allowing a president only two to five-year terms in office. Whereas the restriction will only take effect once a president which is newly elected assumes office, which allows Lukashenko to run for two more terms after his current one expires in 2025.
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