Putin says will deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday he would deploy tactical nuclear weapons in neighbour and ally Belarus, bringing the arms to a country at the gates of the European Union.

 Putin has previously issued thinly veiled warnings that he could use nuclear weapons in Ukraine if Russia were threatened, reviving Cold War-era fears.

 He also said he would deploy depleted uranium ammunition if Kyiv received the controversial weaponry from the West, following a British suggestion that it could supply Ukraine.

 Putin said the move to deploy tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus was "nothing unusual."

 "The United States has been doing this for decades. They have long placed their tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of their allies," Putin said.

 Putin said he spoke to Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko and said "we agreed to do the same."

 He added that Russia had helped equip Belarusian planes "without violating our international agreements on nuclear-non-proliferation... 10 planes are ready for this type of weapon to be used."

 Russia has given Belarus an Iskander system that can carry nuclear weapons, Putin also said.

 It will start training crews on April 3 and plans to finish the construction of a special storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons by July 1.

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