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Russia sent nuclear weapons to Belarus, Putin says

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his address to the nation at the Kremlin in Moscow on Feb. 21, 2022. (ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
June 16, 2023

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he sent tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus as tensions worsen between the U.S. and Russia over its ongoing war with Ukraine.

“The first nuclear charges were delivered to the territory of Belarus. But only the first,” Putin said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, according to Bloomberg. “This is the first part. But by the end of the summer, by the end of the year, we will complete this work.”

When asked if he plans to use the nuclear weapons, Putin said he would only do so if there was a threat to Russian statehood, which he added is not the case at the moment.

In March, Putin announced that Russia would move tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus while insisting that the nation was still upholding its non-proliferation obligations.

Late last year, President Joe Biden’s administration purchased $290 million of anti-radiation medication amid threats of nuclear war repeatedly issued by Putin.

Biden also warned at the time that “the prospect of [nuclear] Armageddon” is real and Putin was “not joking when he talks about the use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons.”

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) confirmed the purchase of the drug Nplate, which the department described as a medication “approved to treat blood cell injuries that accompany acute radiation syndrome in adult and pediatric patients (ARS).”

“ARS, also known as radiation sickness, occurs when a person’s entire body is exposed to a high dose of penetrating radiation, reaching internal organs in a matter of seconds,” the department said in a press release. “Symptoms of ARS injuries include impaired blood clotting as a result of low platelet counts, which can lead to uncontrolled and life-threatening bleeding.”

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.