World

Belarus votes to allow Russia to position nuclear weapons in their country

Belarus has voted to remove the country’s nuclear-free status amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The referendum was held Sunday as the ex-Soviet country’s neighbor Ukraine is under attack from Russian troops and delegations from Moscow and Kyiv are expected to meet for talks on the Belarusian border.

The country’s central elections commission said that 65.2% of those who took part in the referendum voted in favour of adopting a new constitution. The commission confirmed that voter turnout was 78.63%.  To come into force, the amendments need to receive at least 50 percent of the vote with a turnout of over half the electorate.

The amendment could see nuclear weapons on Belarusian soil for the first time since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

“If [the West] transfers nuclear weapons to Poland or Lithuania, to our borders, then I will turn to [Vladimir] Putin to bring back the nuclear weapons that I gave away without any conditions,” Lukashenka said on Sunday.

Western governments have already said they would not recognize the result of the referendum, amid a continued crackdown on Belarus’ opposition. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has rebuked Belarusians for allowing their country to be used as a staging ground for the Russian invasion.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the vote result is “very dangerous” because it will allow Russia to “station nuclear weapons” on its territory. “We know what it means for Belarus to be nuclear,” Borrell told reporters on Monday. The bloc has already imposed tough new sanctions on Minsk for facilitating Russian troops.

The new constitution allows Lukashenka to stay in office until 2035 and will also give the president lifetime immunity from prosecution once he leaves.

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH 

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: COMMONDREAMS.ORG

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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