Europe

Satellite Images Reveal Where Russian Nukes Could Be Stored in Belarus

The New York Times, Source: Maxar Technologies

A newly added air defense system.

A distinctive security checkpoint.

And a triple fence around a bunker.

These new security features and other upgrades at a munitions depot in central Belarus reveal that Russia is building facilities there that could house nuclear warheads. If Russia does move weapons there, it would mark the first time it has stored them outside the country since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Russia already has nuclear warheads on its own soil that are close to Ukraine and NATO countries, but by basing some in Belarus, the Kremlin appears to be trying to accentuate its nuclear threat and bolster its nuclear deterrent.

Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, made reference to such a site early last year, saying Russia would soon be completing the construction of “special storage for tactical nuclear weapons” in Belarus.

The New York Times analyzed satellite imagery and photos, and spoke with nuclear weapons and arms control experts, to track the new construction, which started in March 2023.

The site is 120 miles north of the Ukrainian border at a military depot next to the town of Asipovichy. Some of the recently built structures there have features that are unique to nuclear storage facilities at bases inside Russia. For example, a new, highly secure area is surrounded by three layers of fencing, in addition to the existing security perimeter of the entire base. Another telltale sign is a covered loading area connected to what appears to be a concealed Soviet-era underground bunker.

CreditCredit…The New York Times, Source: Maxar Technologies

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