Minsk, June 15: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced that Russia has commenced the delivery of nuclear weapons to Belarus, including some that are apparently three times as powerful as those detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, reported Fox News.

The tactical nuclear warheads are the first Russia has moved since opening its invasion of Ukraine last year. The weapons' arrival comes one week after Ukrainian forces began a large-scale counteroffensive against Russia. Lukashenko argues the weapons will only serve as a deterrent, as per a Fox News report. Russia To Station Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Belarus, Says Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Fox News is an American website based in New York City. Meanwhile, Finland on April 4 this year became NATO's newest member upon depositing its instrument of accession to the North Atlantic Treaty with the United States at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. Vladimir Putin Says Russia Will Deploy Nuclear Weapons in Belarus After July 7.

Lukashenko told Russian and Belarusian state media, "We have missiles and bombs that we have received from Russia," adding, "The bombs are three times more powerful than those [dropped on] Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

Lukashenko also said, "We have always been a target. Western countries have wanted to tear us to pieces since 2020. No one has so far fought against a nuclear country, a country that has nuclear weapons," as per a report published in Fox News.

Nuclear warheads attached to intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are capable of destroying entire cities, have a far longer range and a higher yield than tactical nuclear weapons, which are designed to eliminate enemy troops and weaponry on the battlefield, as per Fox News.

Belarus has backed firmly with Russia in the fight over Ukraine and borders three NATO nations--Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland. Although he has not yet sent soldiers into the fight, Lukashenko has permitted Russian forces to enter Belarus in order to more fully encircle Ukraine, according to Fox News.

Lukashenko said of the nuclear weapons on Wednesday, "God forbid I have to make a decision to use those weapons today, but there would be no hesitation if we face an aggression."

Since a tumultuous reelection in 2020 in which his opponents accused him of fraud, 68-year-old Lukashenko has continued to oppose the West. He accused Western nations of inciting the disturbance as a result of the widespread protests that followed, Fox News reported.

After Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and its neighbour Finland started applying for membership in NATO. Sweden's application is still pending, while Finland's official affiliation with the alliance began in April.

Sweden's accession is still pending in the absence of approval from Hungary and Turkey, but Ankara is thought to be the primary impediment. Turkey has charged Sweden of giving the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which it regards as a "terrorist" organisation, a safe haven.

US President Joe Biden has said he is certain that Sweden will join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) "as soon as possible," in spite of Turkey and Hungary continuing to obstruct the Scandinavian nation's entry into the alliance, reported Al Jazeera.

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