Country Listing

Belarus Table of Contents


Nuclear Weapons

When the Soviet Union dissolved, Belarus (along with Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan) technically became a nuclear power because of the eighty-one SS-25 intercontinental ballistic missiles on its soil, even though the republic's Declaration of State Sovereignty declared Belarus to be a nuclear-free state. In May 1992, Belarus signed the Lisbon Protocol to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and, along with Ukraine and Kazakhstan, agreed to destroy or turn over all strategic nuclear warheads on its territory to Russia.

To achieve this objective, the Supreme Soviet had to ratify the START I Treaty. For some time, however, the legislature stalled while seeking international guarantees of the republic's security and international funding to carry out the removal. Finally, on February 4, 1993, the START I Treaty was ratified, and adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was approved. All tactical nuclear weapons were removed from Belarus by mid-1993, but although the country strove to remove the strategic nuclear weapons (based at Lida and Mazyr) by 1995, there was little hope of meeting this deadline. Lukashyenka decided to stop Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE--See Glossary) arms reductions in February 1995, claiming NATO encroachments on Belarus's territory; rather, it was a matter of finances. These remaining strategic nuclear weapons were tended by Russian troops who would continue to be stationed there for twenty-five years according to the customs union agreements reached with Russia in January and February 1995 (see Russian Troops , this ch.).

Data as of June 1995