Belarus reportedly now has a “completely different army,” thanks to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, Putin sold an undisclosed number of nuclear-capable 9K720 Iskander short-range ballistic missiles to the country, which is his ally in the war on Ukraine.
In addition to the missiles, Newsweek reports that Lukashenko purchased S-400 missile systems and has plans to manufacture his own by the end of the year, with assistance from Russian weapons experts.
"We made an agreement with Putin,” Lukashenko reportedly said. “We bought from you a number of these Iskanders and S-400s we needed, and armed our army.”
"Now we have a completely different army with such weapons,” he continued. “At the very least, this weapon can cause unacceptable, colossal damage."
The Washington Examiner reports that the Iskander is able to carry a variety of different warheads, which can range from cluster munitions to bunker-busters to nuclear warheads.
According to Forbes, the short-range ballistic missile is also capable of carrying the EMP warhead, which is a non-nuclear warhead that generates an intense pulse of broadband electromagnetic energy, destroying electronics but causing no other damage.
A Pentagon report from 2003 suggested that such an “E-bomb” could knock out phones, computers, cars and everything else that depends on electronics for several square miles.
While Belarusian forces have not been directly involved in the attack on Ukraine, the country has offered its territory as a staging ground for Russian troops and Western sanctions have included Russia’s main ally, according to Newsweek.
On Monday, Lukashenko said he was worried that Poland and NATO were working together to make Ukraine resemble its former shape.
“What worries us is that they, the Poles and NATO, to come out and to help take western Ukraine like it was before 1939,” he said, according to Reuters.
Lukashenko’s concerns echo allegations made in April by Sergey Naryshkin, director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, that the United States and Poland were “working on plans to establish Poland’s tight military and political control over its historical possessions in Ukraine.”
Known as “Europe’s last dictator,” Lukashenko has been Belarus’ first and only president since July 20, 1994, according to Newsweek.
The 9K720 Iskander is a short-range ballistic missile system produced and deployed by the Russian military, introduced to replace the now obsolete OTR-21 Tochka systems.
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