Zaporizhzhia Will Soon Undergo a Nuclear Meltdown: Jermiah

Nuclear power plant3:33

Ukraine war: Workers at deteriorating Zaporizhzhia plant fear ‘devastation’ on a scale ‘worse than Chernobyl’

The Zaporizhzhia power plant was taken under Russian control in March last year, becoming one of the first major areas to be captured by Vladimir Putin’s forces – but staff say they are intimidated by Russian troops to keep quiet about what’s happening behind closed doors.

Alex Rossi

International correspondent @alexrossiSKY

Wednesday 31 May 2023 14:47, UK

Sitting on the Dnipro River in Russian-occupied Ukraine is Europe’s largest nuclear power station – on the frontline of a worsening war.

Over a period of a few weeks we spoke to two workers at the Zaporizhzhia plant.

And the warnings they gave of what could happen should send a cold chill around the world.

The interviews were conducted on the condition of anonymity and at great personal risk to them. They told us that if they were caught, they could be tortured, imprisoned, or worse. They know the dangers but still wanted to be heard.

Neither of the technicians knew that we were talking to the other. But their testimony of the possibility of a major nuclear catastrophe was worryingly familiar. One of the men, who we will call Serhii, warned the consequences could cause devastation across much of Europe, Russia and the Mediterranean.

“The level of radioactive pollution, and most importantly the area of contamination, will be thousands of square kilometres of land and sea… it would be much, much worse than Fukushima and worse than Chernobyl.”

While some nuclear experts think that such an eventuality is unlikely, others have told us it’s a possible worst case scenario.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant was captured by Russian forces in March last year at the beginning of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Since then there have been major concerns about safety at the plant. Not least of all because heavy weapons, including shells and rockets, have hit the buildings.

Both sides blame each other. But our sources told us that Russia has been deliberately targeting power lines to disrupt the flow of electricity to Ukraine. These lines are essential for plant safety and the cooling mechanism of the reactors.

For 30 years, workers at Europe’s largest nuclear power station couldn’t imagine that there could be a power outage.

Since Russian forces occupied the site last year it has happened seven times.

Ukraine maps

The back-up generators we were told are also not being properly maintained, the other man, Mykola, told us that this was because of staff shortages.

He says that before the war there were 11,000 staff at the plant and now there may be as few as 3,500.

“There is the same deficit of workers for repairs who can actually do the servicing and fix problems. The quality of the workers is lower because the qualified staff left. So generally the situation here is deteriorating.”

Five of the six reactors are now in cold shutdown, but there are fears Russia may use the power plant to stage a false flag attack.

Ukraine’s defence ministry alleges Moscow could be about to simulate a major accident, such as a radioactive leak, as a way of stopping any Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south of the country.

Satellite view of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant
Image:Satellite view of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on fire

Ukraine is expected to order its troops to reclaim territory lost at the beginning of the war in the coming weeks.

The power station has been under occupation now for 15 months and the technicians have told us that in the last few weeks the level of military activity has increased dramatically.

They’ve witnessed Russian forces, moving more armour, more ammunition and more guns into place as they fortify their positions.

Serhii says that he thinks it’s because they know the nuclear plant is safe from Ukrainian strikes.

“Ukrainian armed forces will not shell the station. That’s why they are multiplying the numbers of troops and vehicles here because if they did it in another place they would definitely get shelled by the armed forces of Ukraine.

“The thing is, one month and half ago there were two times less troops on the power station and now there are two times more which means they are definitely preparing for the counteroffensive.”

It is hard to know what is exactly going on inside, but we understand technicians are routinely intimidated to keep them silent – effectively held as hostages.

Mykola told us it’s a frightening place to work, but he has no choice.

“Everyone has their own story. And I think the most important thing is not to get into their hands because it’s unlikely you will get out and still be the human you were when you went in.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency is carrying out inspections, but it continues to express grave concerns about the nuclear plant and is calling for the area to be demilitarised immediately.

But there is no sign that will happen. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

China horn’s growing arsenal boosts risk of nuclear war, study says

In this file photo, China's People's Liberation Army displays DF-26 ballistic missiles in a parade. Over just the past several months, major revelations about the extent of China's hypersonic weapons capabilities, its nuclear arms stockpile, and even the size of its navy have sparked concerns that Washington may not have a full window into exactly what its 21st-century rival has up its sleeve, or what may be under development deep inside the communist nation. (Associated Press/File)
In this file photo, China’s People’s Liberation Army displays DF-26 ballistic missiles in a parade. Over just the past several months, major revelations about the extent of China’s hypersonic weapons capabilities, its nuclear arms stockpile, and even the size of … more >

China’s growing arsenal boosts risk of nuclear war, study says

By Bill Gertz – The Washington Times – Monday, May 29, 2023

China’s rapid large-scale buildup of nuclear missiles, submarines, bombers, including an orbiting nuclear strike weapon, is increasing the danger of nuclear war, according to a study.

The bipartisan group of specialists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Northern California is warning that the U.S. is ill-prepared to deal with what are now two peer nuclear powers — China and Russia — must bolster deterrence. The laboratory is funded by the Energy Department and previously took part in designing nuclear weapons.

Analysts at the laboratory’s Center for Global Security Research concluded in their 71-page report that the Biden administration’s plans and policies are insufficient and must be changed to reflect new nuclear dangers that are “real” and “rising.”

The report calls for adding nuclear warheads to existing submarine-launched ballistic missiles, building a new nuclear submarine-launched ballistic missile, and preparing to deploy new long-range Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missiles on road-mobile launchers.

The current U.S. strategic triad consisting of aging land-based missiles, missile submarines, and aerial bombers is “only marginally sufficient to meet today’s requirements” for deterring China and Russia,” the report said. “For tomorrow’s requirements, the deficiencies are even more striking. The United States should plan and prepare to deploy additional warheads and bombs from the reserve it has maintained for such a possibility.”

World War III is Inevitable: Revelation 16

Is World War III inevitable?

Scott Sumner

The Financial Times has an article by Gideon Rachman entitled:

How to stop a war between America and China

Unfortunately, the article doesn’t tell us how to stop a war between the US and China.  It does mention the possibility of setting up the sort of “hot line” that existed between the US and the Soviet Union, but it’s hard to see how that would be decisive.  There was no hot line 1962, when the US and Russia pulled back from the brink of nuclear war.  

Rachman says that policymakers view the risk of war as being quite high:

Visiting Washington last week, it was striking how commonplace talk of war between the US and China has become. That discussion has been fed by loose-lipped statements from American generals musing about potential dates for the opening of hostilities.

Those comments, while unwise, did not spring from nowhere. They are a reflection of the broader discussion on China taking place in Washington — inside and outside government. Many influential people seem to think that a US-China war is not only possible but probable.

The rhetoric coming out of Beijing is also bellicose. Last month, Qin Gang, China’s foreign minister, said that “if the US side does not put on the brakes and continues down the wrong path . . . confrontation and conflict” between the two nations is inevitable.

I am also worried about the risk of war between the US and China.  When thinking about this risk, it might be worth reviewing the situation in Europe, which seems equally dangerous.  As far as I can tell, the US policy in Europe is roughly the following:

1. If Russia invades Estonia, we go to war with Russia.

2. If Russia invades Latvia, we go to war with Russia.

3. If Russia invades Lithuania, we go to war with Russia.

4. If Russia invades Ukraine, we supply Ukraine with weapons and intelligence.

A major war between two nuclear armed nations is a massive negative sum outcome.  That sort of outcome is most likely to occur due to miscalculation.  One way to reduce the risk of war is by making one’s intentions crystal clear, so that our adversaries know how we will respond if they act.  Russia knows that we will defend Nato countries if they are attacked, and that’s why it doesn’t attack Nato countries.

It’s somewhat odd that the risk of war with China is currently seen as being higher than the risk of war with Russia, especially given the fact that Russia has a more powerful nuclear force than China and is led by a more reckless and militaristic leader.  One possible factor is that our foreign policy in Asia is far more ambiguous than in Europe.  Ambiguity can lead to miscalculation, which can have very negative effects. 

In my view, clarity along the following lines would make war between the US and China much less likely than it is today, and much less likely than war between the US and Russia:

1. If China invades Japan, we go to war with China.

2. If China invades South Korea, we go to war with China.

3. If Russia China invades the Philippines (their main islands), we go to war with China.

4. If Russia China invades Taiwan, we supply Taiwan with weapons and intelligence.

[Yikes, there were typos in the original.]

In other words, replicate our successful European policy approach to avoiding a US war with Russia, as a way of avoiding war with China.

Of course there are other possible options, such as extending our defense umbrella to Taiwan.  But whatever we decide to do, our policy must be crystal clear.  The worst of all possible outcomes would be if the US intends to go to war with China over Taiwan, while China doesn’t believe the US intends to go to war over Taiwan. Remember the Gulf War of 1991? 

Alternatively, suppose China believes that we’d go to war over Taiwan, but we have no intention of actually doing so.  China might accompany an attack on Taiwan with a Pearl Harbor-type strike against US bases in Japan and Guam, triggering WWIII.  All due to a misunderstanding.  Not a likely outcome, but possible.

I don’t expect the US to follow my advice, and hence I see a non-trivial risk that miscalculation could lead to a nuclear war between the US and China during the late 2020s, which would be in no one’s interest.  I hope I’m wrong.

The Impending Nuclear Crisis: Revelation 8

Zaporizhzhia Gazette: Notes on an Unfolding Nuclear Crisis



The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is directly in the path of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, sitting on the south bank of the Dnieper River, which is currently occupied by Russia.  The Russians have evacuated the surrounding countryside, and fortified the plant itself.  There are sandbags and gun emplacements atop several of the reactors, soldiers outnumber the engineers there, and the area surrounding the plant has been heavily mined.

Ukraine’s defence ministry has warned that Russia plans to simulate a major accident at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, which is under the control of Russian forces, in a bid to thwart the expected counteroffensive by Ukraine to retake its territory captured by Moscow….“Russians are preparing massive provocation and imitation of the accident at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in the nearest hours,” the Ukrainian defence ministry’s intelligence directorate said on Friday.

“They are planning to attack the territory of the ZNPP [Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant]. After that, they will announce the leakage of the radioactive substances,” the intelligence directorate said in a statement and later on social media channels.

Reports of radioactive material leaking from the plant would cause a global incident and force an investigation by international authorities, during which all hostilities would be stopped, the directorate said. Russia would then use that pause in fighting to regroup its forces and better prepare to stop the Ukrainian counteroffensive, the intelligence service said.

This story has been reported in many news outlets around the world, with caveats that no evidence has been presented to back it up.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council is meeting tomorrow in a special session, chaired by Switzerland, although Russia holds the chair this month.

The meeting is aimed at encouraging the parties involved to comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nuclear safety principles in order to avoid a nuclear catastrophe at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the Swiss foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi is due to brief the council on the current situation and present the principles for ensuring safety on site.

The foreign ministry said Grossi had led efforts aimed at securing the protection of the plant during the conflict, “engaging in months of intense negotiations with both Ukraine and Russia to prevent a potentially severe nuclear accident”.

“Combat operations are a direct threat to the nuclear power plant, and a nuclear accident would have far-reaching humanitarian and environmental consequences not only for Ukraine but also for the European continent,” the Swiss ministry said… Swiss minister to chair UN meeting on Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant – SWI

Zaporizhzhia nuclear-plant areas prepped for a meltdown: Revelation 8

Aftermath of a Russian missile attack in Zaporizhzhia
Rescuers work at the site of a residential area heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine May 3, 2023. REUTERS/Stringer

More than 1,600 evacuated from Zaporizhzhia nuclear-plant areas

May 7, 20234:41 PM MDTUpdated 22 days ago

May 8 (Reuters) – Some 1,679 people, including 660 children, have been evacuated from areas near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, a Moscow-installed official in the Russia-controlled parts of the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine said late on Sunday.

The head of the U.N.’s nuclear power watchdog warned on Saturday that the situation around the plant has become “potentially dangerous” as Moscow-installed officials began evacuating people from nearby areas.

Ukraine is expected to start soon a much-anticipated counteroffensive to retake Russian-held territory, including in the Zaporizhzhia region.

“(The evacuees) have already been placed in the temporary accommodation centre for residents of the front-line territories of the Zaporizhzhia region in Berdiansk,” Yevgeny Balitsky, Russian-installed governor of the Russia-controlled part of Zaporizhzhia region, said on his Telegram messaging channel.

Berdiansk is a south-eastern Ukrainian port city on the coast of the Sea of Azov, which has been occupied by Russia since the early days of Moscow’s invasion on Ukraine in February 2022.

Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Sandra Maler

‘Nuclear weapons for everyone’: Daniel

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko

‘Nuclear weapons for everyone’ who joins Belarus and Russia, Putin ally promises

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s comment comes amid escalating nuclear rhetoric from Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose army is floundering in Ukraine.

May 29, 2023, 5:20 AM MDT

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, promised nuclear weapons to any nation that joined Russia and Belarus.

The comment came just days after the Belarusian leader confirmed the transfer of Russian nuclear weapons to his country. Putin has periodically hinted at a nuclear escalation since the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, dramatically increasing tensions with the United States and the West.

“It’s very simple. You have to join the union between Belarus and Russia, and that’s it: There will be nuclear weapons for everyone,” Lukashenko said in a comment aired Sunday night on Russian state TV. 

“I think it’s possible,” Lukashenko added, saying that he was expressing his own view. “We need to strategically understand that we have a unique chance to unite.”  

Lukashenko, who is one of Putin’s staunchest supporters, made the comment in response to earlier remarks by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the president of Kazakhstan, during a summit in Moscow on Wednesday.

Tokayev said at the forum of the Eurasian Economic Union that Belarus and Russia enjoy a close relationship where “even nuclear weapons are shared between the two.”

The Union State between Russia and Belarus was formed in 1999 and allows the two former Soviet republics to integrate economically, politically and militarily.

On Thursday, the Belarusian leader confirmed that Russia has moved on the plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, first announced in March. 

It comes amid escalating nuclear rhetoric from Putin as his war effort in Ukraine flounders. Russia has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world, which Putin said it will not hesitate to use if the country’s security or existence is threatened.

Belarus, which does not possess its own nuclear weapons after it transferred the stock it inherited from the Soviet era to Russia in the 1990s, is not officially a party to the war in Ukraine, although Moscow used its territory to launch the full-scale invasion last year.

Putin propped up Lukashenko’s authoritarian regime after violent protests nearly toppled “Europe’s last dictator” in 2020, deepening the country’s political and economic reliance on Russia.

In March, the Russian leader announced his plansto deploy tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus, on Lukashenko’s request, drawing condemnation from the West.

Lukashenko confirmed that the movement of nuclear weapons had already begun on Thursday, without clarifying if they had already reached Belarusian soil, according to Belarusian state news agency Belta.

Meanwhile, defense ministers of the two countries, Sergei Shoigu and Viktor Khrenin, signed documents in Minsk last week, defining the procedure for keeping Russian nuclear weapons in Belarusian territory, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Moscow has already handed over to Minsk the “Iskander” missile system, which can carry nuclear weapons, Shoigu said, and has assisted in converting some Belarusian aircraft for the possible nuclear weapon use.

The State Department denounced the alleged deployment Thursday, calling it “the latest example of irresponsible behavior” by Russia.

Putin ally claims Babylon the Great fails to ‘fully realize’ threat of nuclear war with Russia

Dmitry Medvedev

Putin ally claims West fails to ‘fully realize’ threat of nuclear war with Russia

Medvedev claims war in Ukraine could last ‘decades’ while Zelenskyy remains in power

By Caitlin McFall | Fox New

Russia and Belarus’ nuclear agreement is ‘irresponsible’ and ‘provocative,’ White House says

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Thursday responded after Russia signed an agreement with Belarus to store tactical nuclear weapons in the country, which neighbors several NATO allies and Ukraine.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday claimed that the West has failed to “fully realize” the threat of a nuclear conflict with Moscow and suggested the war in Ukraine could last for “decades.”

Medvedev, an ardent supporter of Russian President of Vladimir Putin and a hawk, said NATO’s support for Ukraine accounts to a proxy war that could boil over if it continues aiding Kyiv. 

“The Anglo-Saxons do not fully realize this and believe that it will not come to this. It will under certain conditions,” he said according to a Reuters report. 

Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman and the head of the United Russia party Dmitry Medvedev chairs a meeting on saving businesses and jobs in foreign companies via video link at Gorki state residence, outside Moscow, Russia, on March 16. (Yekaterina Shtukina, Sputnik, Government Pool Photo via AP)

The current deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council further argued that aiding Ukraine in developing a nuclear weapon – a suggestion that no Western nation has publicly proposed – would prompt a Russian “missile with a nuclear charge coming to them.”

“There are irreversible laws of war. If it comes to nuclear weapons, there will have to be a pre-emptive strike,” Medvedev said.

Dmitry Medvedev

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and former Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attend a cabinet meeting in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP) (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

The hawkish Russian elite has repeatedly issued inflammatory comments regarding the threat of nuclear warfare with the West over the conflict in Ukraine, and in March said that “nothing can be ruled out” when it comes to Russia’s war effort. 

Medvedev also told Russian news agencies Friday that so long as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy remains in office the war will continue – potentially for decades. 

Cannon in Bakhmut, Ukraine

FILE – Ukrainian soldiers fire a cannon near Bakhmut, an eastern city where fierce battles against Russian forces have been taking place, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, May 15, 2023. For months, Western allies have shipped billions of dollars worth of weapons systems and ammunition to Ukraine with an urgency to get the supplies to Kyiv in time for an anticipated spring counteroffensive. Now summer is just weeks away.  ( AP Photo/Libkos, File)

“This conflict will last for a very long time. For decades, probably. This is a new reality,” he said before calling Zelenskyy a “clown.”

“Everything always ends in negotiations, and this is inevitable, but as long as these people are in power, the situation for Russia will not change in terms of negotiations,” he added. 

Zelenskyy has called on international partners to help facilitate a peace deal with Russia, and a Chinese envoy Friday was set to arrive in Moscow to discuss a peace plan with its top ally – though Western officials remain skeptical of its ability to hold such talks free of bias. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits Donetsk

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited troops in the Donetsk region, in a photo released Tuesday, April 18, 2023, by the country’s defense ministry. (Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense)

Kyiv has also made clear it will not agree to any peace negotiations until Russia removes its armed forces that have been illegally waging war in Ukraine since February 2022.

Zelenskyy plans to address plans for ending the war with Russia with Western allies at a “global summit” in July.

Caitlin McFall is a Reporter at Fox News Digital covering Politics, U.S. and World news.

Putin Planning on Nuclear Meltdown in Ukraine: Revelation 8

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant will be targeted, it’s claimed(AP)

Putin ‘planning provocation’ at nuclear plant to disrupt Ukraine counteroffensive, Kyiv says

Ukraine’s defence ministry claims Russian forces will strike the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

Joe Middleton17 hours ago

Russia is plotting a “large-scale provocation” at a nuclear power station it occupies in the southeast of Ukraine to disrupt an imminent counteroffensive, Kyiv’s military intelligence has claimed.

A statement from the intelligence directorate of Ukraine’s defence ministry claimed Russian forces will strike the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the biggest in Europe.

It will then report a radioactive leak in order to trigger an international probe that would pause the hostilities and give them the respite they need to regroup.

In order to make that happen, Russia “disrupted the rotation of personnel of the permanent monitoring mission” of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that was scheduled for Saturday, the statement said. It did not offer evidence to back up any of the claims.

The IAEA said it did not have any immediate comment on the allegations and Russian officials did not immediately comment on the Ukrainian claims.

The White House said it is watching the situation closely and has seen no indication radioactive material has been leaked.

It comes as Moscow’s military in Ukraine braces for a looming counteroffensive by Kyiv’s forces, which has not started yet but could begin “tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or in a week”, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, Oleksiy Danilov, told the BBC.

He said the government in Kyiv had “no right to make a mistake” on the decision because this is a “historic opportunity” that “we cannot lose”.

The Zaporizhzhia station is one of the 10 biggest nuclear plants in the world. It is in the partially occupied Zaporizhzhia region in southeastern Ukraine.

The plant’s six reactors have been shut down for months but it still needs power and qualified staff to operate crucial cooling systems and other safety features.

Fighting near it repeatedly disrupted power supplies and has fuelled fears of a potential catastrophe like the one at Chernobyl, in northern Ukraine, where a reactor exploded in 1986 and spewed deadly radiation, contaminating a vast area.

In other developments on Saturday, Russia reported more attacks on its territory, with drones crashing in its western regions and areas on the border with Ukraine coming under shelling.

Two drones attacked an administrative building of an oil company in Russia’s western Pskov region that borders Belarus, Latvia and Estonia, Pskov governor Mikhail Vedernikov reported on Saturday.

The building was damaged as the result of an explosion, Mr Vedernikov said.

Another drone went down in the Tver region about 145km (90 miles) north of Moscow, local authorities said.

Russia’s Belgorod region on the border with Ukraine came under multiple rounds of shelling on Saturday, killing one person, according to its governor Vyacheslav Gladkov.

In the neighbouring Kursk region, which also borders Ukraine, one person was killed by cross-border mortar fire, its governor Roman Starovoit said.

And a 60-year-old man was killed by Russian shelling in the city of Kupyansk in the Kharkiv region, about 32km (20 miles) from the Russian border, Ukraine’s national police said.

Meanwhile, Russia’s ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin warned his country was yet to “act very seriously” in the conflict.

Mr Kelin told the BBC that Moscow had “enormous resources” and the country was “16 times bigger than Ukraine.”

He said: “Sooner or later, of course, this escalation may get a new dimension which we do not need and we do not want. We can make peace tomorrow.”

In addition, the British military said on Saturday that Russia’s private military force, Wagner, is withdrawing from areas around the eastern city of Bakhmut that Moscow claims to have captured earlier this month.

Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin earlier this week announced the pullout, saying Wagner would hand control over the ruined city over to the Russian military. Some were sceptical, however.

Mr Prigozhin is known for making unverifiable, headline-grabbing statements on which he later backtracks.

But Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a series of tweets on Saturday that Wagner fighters “have likely started to withdraw from some of their positions” around Bakhmut.

“The Ukrainian deputy defence minister also corroborated the rotation out of Wagner forces in the outskirts of the town,” it added.

Additional reporting by agencies

Russian Horn Sends Nukes to Europe: Daniel 7

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu shakes hands with Belarusian Defense Minister Victor Khrenin during a meeting in Minsk, Belarus May 25, 2023.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, signed an agreement with his Belarusian counterpart, Viktor Khrenin, formalizing the deployment of Russia tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

Russia signs deal sending tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus


Snejana Farberov

May 25, 2023 4:05pm 

Russia has begun transferring its tactical nuclear warheads to Belarus Thursday — just hours after the two allied nations signed an agreement formalizing the weapons’ deployment.

“It was necessary to prepare storage sites, and so on. We did all this. Therefore, the movement of nuclear weapons began,” Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said while attending a summit in Moscow, according to state news agency BelTA.

Under the Russia-Belarus deal, Kremlin will retain control of the tactical nuclear weapons, which are designed to obliterate enemy troops and equipment on the battlefield.

Lukashenko promised to keep the short-range warheads safe, saying: “Don’t worry about nuclear weapons. We are responsible for this. These are serious issues. Everything will be all right here.”

If the statement was Lukashenko’s attempt to allay Western concerns, it badly missed its mark.The video player is currently playing an ad.1/3

The US strongly condemned the deployment of the tactical nukes, which State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller decried as “the latest example of irresponsible behavior that we have seen from Russia since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine over a year ago.”

Despite Thursday’s developments, Miller said the US has seen no reason to adjust its nuclear posture “or any indications that Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko (R) enter the hall during the Supreme Economic Eurasian Council at the Grand Kremlin Palace on May 25, 2023 in Moscow.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, right, who attended a summit with Vladimir Putin, left, in Moscow, said that the warheads were already on their way to his country.

The move comes months after President Vladimir Putin unveiled his plan to transfer some of Russia’s short-range nuclear warheads to Belarus in an apparent warning to the West.

It was not immediately clear how many nuclear weapons would be staged in Belarus, which shares borders with three NATO member states: Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

The US believes Russia has about 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons – more than any other country — which include bombs that can be carried by aircraft, warheads for short-range missiles and artillery rounds.

Tactical nuclear weapons have a much lower yield than nuclear warheads fitted to long-range strategic missiles that are capable of wiping out whole cities.

In this handout photo taken from video released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, fourth left in the background, speaks during a meeting with high level officers in Moscow, Russia, on Wednesday, May 24, 2023.
Russia is bracing for Ukraine’s upcoming counteroffensive, which is expected to get underway in the coming weeks or months.

Russian and Belarusian officials framed the signing of the nuclear deal as a response to hostilities from the West.

“Deployment of nonstrategic nuclear weapons is an effective response to the aggressive policy of countries unfriendly to us,” Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin said in Minsk at a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu.

“The collective West is essentially waging an undeclared war against our countries,” Shoigu added. “In the context of an extremely sharp escalation of threats on the western borders of Russia and Belarus, a decision was made to take countermeasures in the military-nuclear sphere.”

Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya condemned the pact.

This video grab taken from a handout footage posted on May 25, 2023 on the Telegram account of the press service of Concord -- a company linked to the chief of Russian mercenary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin -- shows Yevgeny Prigozhin speaking in Bakhmut.
Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin said that his mercenaries have started withdrawing from Bakhmut and transferring their positions to Russian regulars.

“We must do everything to prevent Putin’s plan to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus, as this will ensure Russia’s control over Belarus for years to come,” Tsikhanouskaya warned. “This will further jeopardize the security of Ukraine and all of Europe.”

Russia has been propping up Belarusia’s sagging economy with loans and shipments of cheap gas and oil. In exchange, Moscow was allowed to use Belarusian territory as a staging ground for invading neighboring Ukraine last year and has maintained a contingent of troops and weapons there.

The transfer of nuclear warheads to Belarus has begun against the backdrop of Ukraine’s preparations for a counteroffensive.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner mercenary group who has been openly critical of the military establishment, warned Thursday that Russia could face a revolution similar to those of 1917 and lose the war in Ukraine unless the elite got serious about trying to win the conflict.

The destruction of a Russian weapons store in the devastated Eastern city of Bakhmut.
Prigozhin warned that Ukrainian forces would try to encircle Bakhmut, which has seen the bloodiest battles of the war.

Prigozhin said in an interview posted on his Telegram channel that Ukraine was gearing up to push Russian troops back to its borders before 2014. He also predicted that Kyiv’s forces would try to encircle the eastern city of Bakhmut — the focus of some of the bloodiest battles — and attack Crimea, which has been in the Kremlin’s hands for nearly a decade.

“We are in such a condition that we could f—ing lose Russia — that is the main problem,” he said, saying that Russia should impose martial law and prepare its citizens for “an arduous war.”

In a separate video published Thursday, Prigozhin said that his fighters have started withdrawing from Bakhmut and transferring their positions to regular Russian troops.24

Prigozhin, who has been railing against Shoigu for months and accusing top military brass of denying his forces sufficient ammunition, said Wagner fighters would be ready to return to Bakhmut if the regulars were unable to manage the situation. 

With Post wires

Nuclear war is another casualty of the Ukraine safety

Surveillance camera footage from Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant published on YouTube shows a flare landing at the site during shelling on March 4 last year. EPA
Surveillance camera footage from Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant published on YouTube shows a flare landing at the site during shelling on March 4 last year. EPA

Nuclear safety is another casualty of the Ukraine war

Experts say power cuts at Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s biggest nuclear plant, are dangerous. It’s another reason why efforts to end the conflict should be redoubled


When US president George W Bush and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, better known as the Moscow Treaty, on this day 21 years ago, the hope was that it would be another step towards reducing the risk of the superpowers ever fighting a nuclear war.

Mercifully, such a conflict has not taken place, thanks in part to the high-level diplomacy that led to the 2002 treaty. It committed Russia and the US to cutting their strategic nuclear arsenal to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads each. But it also formed part of a series of arms control treaties that kept an uneasy global peace – at least when it came to the use of weapons of mass destruction.

Despite these international treaties, with nuclear energy – whether in the form of weapons or civilian nuclear power plants caught in the crossfire of a conventional conflict – the consequences of a miscalculation are too enormous to contemplate. This is why the current fighting in Ukraine is perilous not only to its long-suffering population but also for the international community. It is also another reason why efforts to end the war should be redoubled.

Thisurgency was underscored on Monday morning, when the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in south-eastern Ukraine lost all external power for several hours. The incident, said Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, underlined “the extremely precarious nuclear safety and security situation at the facility and the urgent need to protect it and prevent an accident”.

CHERNOBYL, UKRAINE, USSR - MAY 1986: Chernobyl nuclear power plant a few weeks after the disaster. Chernobyl, Ukraine, USSR, May 1986.     (Photo by Laski Diffusion/Getty Images)
Ukraine is a country sadly familiar with nuclear accidents. In April 1986, the reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant ruptured and exploded, causing radioactive contamination in the surrounding areas. Getty

Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which was seized by Russian forces days into the current conflict, has lost power seven times since the war began 15 months ago, the IAEA says. Nuclear power plants require energy to keep their reactors cool and to carry out other security and safety functions. Jeopardising the power supply to such a critical piece of infrastructure carries tremendous risks. Ukraine knows this better than most countries, given that it and its neighbours are still living with the after-effects of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Amid reports of an imminent Ukrainian counter-offensive, observers will be watching the country’s nuclear infrastructure closely, hoping that the fighting does not lead to a catastrophe that would be difficult to contain in peacetime, let along during a war.

Wars are unpredictable events, and the possibility that a change on the battlefield could lead to a nuclear accident or the misguided use of a nuclear device is one that should be first and foremost in the minds of the international community. At the end of March, Izumi Nakamitsu, the UN’s undersecretary general and high representative for disarmament affairs, told the Security Council that the risk of nuclear arms being used is higher today than at any time since the end of the Cold War.

“The absence of dialogue and the erosion of the disarmament and arms control architecture, combined with dangerous rhetoric and veiled threats, are key drivers of this potentially existential risk,” she added. In February this year, Mr Putin said his government had suspended its participation in another arms control agreement with the US – the New START treaty.

There is always the risk of the world falling into complacency about a long-running conflict, and no one wants to speculate on or talk up a potential catastrophe, but no effort should be spared in trying to end the war. In the meantime, it is important for the international community and nuclear agencies to remain engaged with both sides in this conflict to mitigate the risk of a disaster that would threaten not only Ukraine’s people but the lives of millions across the European continent.