Russia to supply nuclear-capable missiles to Belarus

Putin stated this to President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko at a meeting in St. Petersburg. In St. Petersburg, missile systems “can use both ballistic and cruise missiles, both conventional and nuclear,” the Kremlin said.

Russia launched an invasion on February 24 in part from the territory of Belarusborders with Ukraine in the north. Throughout the war, Moscow used Minsk as a satellite base, including for many Russian air operations in Ukraine. according to intelligence collected by NATO reconnaissance aircraft.

On Saturday, Ukraine said that Russian troops fired several rockets at the Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions from Belarus.

In the transcript of the meeting, Lukashenka expressed to Putin his “stress” over what he said were flights by US and NATO aircraft “training to carry nuclear warheads” near the Belarusian border.

He asked Putin to consider a “mirror response” to flying, or re-equipping the Russian fighter jets currently deployed in Belarus with “nuclear warhead noses”.

Putin responded that there was “no need” to match US flights and suggested that Belarus instead modify its own Su-25 aircraft to carry nuclear weapons.

“This modernization should be carried out at aircraft factories in Russia, but we will agree on how to do this. And, accordingly, start training the flight personnel, ”Putin said.

What is Iskander-M?

According to Janes Defense, the Iskander-M is a Russian short-range ballistic missile system that can carry conventional or nuclear warheads with a maximum range of up to 500 kilometers (310 miles).

The weapon uses both optical and inertial guidance systems to engage its targets, hitting them with a variety of warheads such as cluster munitions, vacuum bombs, anti-bunker bombs and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) warheads, according to the Missile Defense.

According to the Alliance, Iskander-M was first used in 2008 during the Russian-Georgian conflict, when the Russian army used it to hit targets in Gori.

CNN turned to the Pentagon for comment on Lukashenka’s statements.

G7 and NATO summits

The meeting between Russian and Belarusian leaders took place on the eve of a week of summits in Europe, where the stubborn war in Ukraine, now in its fifth month, will be in the spotlight.

The leaders of Japan, Canada, the US, the UK, France, Italy, the European Union and host Germany will meet in Group of 7 on Monday.

US President Joe Biden hopes to announce new sanctions and military assistance along with European allies during his visits to Germany and Spain. Both the G7 and NATO summits will feature Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who continues to turn to the US and other countries for more help.

During his Saturday night speech, Zelenskiy said “sanctions packages against Russia are not enough” and urged Western partners to provide more “armed assistance” to Ukraine.

Biden arrives in Europe to rally allies against Russia as debilitating war in Ukraine takes its toll

“Air defense systems – modern systems that our partners have – should not be at training grounds or warehouses, but in Ukraine, where they are needed now,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military confirmed on Saturday that it had begun using an advanced multiple launch rocket system (MLRS). supplied by USA to destroy Russian targets. Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Valeriy Zaluzhny posted a video that he said showed the Highly Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) firing a rocket at night at an undisclosed location.
This was reported on Thursday by CNN. that HIMARS arrived in Ukraine, according to the Ministry of Defense of the country.

Fall of Severodonetsk.

On Saturday, Eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk was “completely under Russian occupation,” said Alexander Stryuk, head of the city’s military administration, after months of grueling and bloody fighting. Severodonetsk was one of the last major Ukrainian strongholds in the area.

Regional military officials said on Friday that the last troops in Severodonetsk had been ordered to withdraw as it was impossible to continue defending their positions. This effectively ceded the city to Russia and brought the Lugansk region in eastern Ukraine almost entirely under Russian control.

The Russian Defense Ministry on Saturday said its forces have now taken control of the entire left bank of the Seversky Donets, the eastern side of the river, and all borders of the Luhansk People’s Republic.

The official representative of the Ministry of Defense, Lieutenant-General Igor Konashenkov, said that Russian troops “completely liberated the cities of Severodonetsk and Borovskoye, the settlements of Voronovo and Syrotin of the Luhansk People’s Republic.”

CNN’s Caitlan Collins, Tim Lister and Olga Voitovich contributed to the report.