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Belarus Holds Snap Inspection of Nuclear Arms Carriers

A Su-25 aircraft in Belarus service. Dmitriy Pichugin / wikimedia/commons

Belarus said Tuesday it had started a surprise inspection of its non-strategic nuclear weapon carriers on the orders of President Alexander Lukashenko.

The announcement comes a day after his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin ordered nuclear drills in Russia, raising fears that the powerful weapons could be used in Ukraine.

Non-strategic nuclear weapons, also known as tactical nuclear weapons, are designed for use on the battlefield and can be delivered via missiles.

They are less devastating than the strategic nuclear weapons used to obliterate entire cities but are still highly destructive and have never been used in combat.

"In accordance with an order from the President of Belarus, a sudden inspection of non-strategic nuclear weapons carriers is being carried out," the Belarusian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The inspection will test the "planning, preparation, and use of strikes with tactical nuclear warheads" and involve a squadron of Su-25 aircraft, it added.

Belarus does not have any nuclear weapons of its own, but last year the Moscow-ally agreed to host Russian tactical warheads on its territory amid rising tensions over Ukraine.

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