BCA stands against the transfer of Russian nuclear weapons to Belarus
The Belarusian Canadian Alliance (BCA) is calling on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to block the transfer of Russian tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus, which was announced by Vladimir Putin on 25 March 2023. Such action of the Russian government is unacceptable for a permanent member of the UNSC, a key international body responsible for maintaining international peace and security.
As a signatory of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Belarus has agreed not to develop or acquire nuclear weapons. Belarus voluntarily gave up its nuclear weapons, which it inherited after the fall of the Soviet Union, and joined the NPT in 1993.
The introduction of any form of nuclear weapons to Belarus, above all, would require national consensus, which is impossible under the regime of terror and mass repressions conducted by the government of Aliaksandr Lukashenka, as documented in the March 2023 UN Human Rights Office report. Therefore, the BCA, as a Belarusian diaspora organization in Canada, feels obliged to voice the protest of the Belarusian people – in and outside the country – against the presence of any forms of military nuclear materials on the Belarusian soil.
The transfer of tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus could escalate both regional and global conflicts and increase the risk of a nuclear war in Europe. This risk is particularly high given the de facto occupation of Belarus by Russian military forces and Lukashenka’s ongoing support of the Russian war in Ukraine. We believe the Russian government in power will not hesitate to launch Russian missiles, using Belarus and its people as a shield.
The people of Belarus paid an enormous price in human lives during the Second World War. They also paid with the loss of lives and lands for the Chernobyl disaster. According to the United Nations, more than 70 per cent of the radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl disaster fell on Belarus. This nuclear crisis also had significant health impacts, particularly on children. Many Belarusians suffered from thyroid cancer and other radiation-related illnesses as a result of the Chernobyl catastrophe. Many of them were relocated, but hundreds of thousands of people continue to live on the territories contaminated with radiation. The legacy of the Chernobyl disaster continues to be felt in Belarus today.
We urge the UNSC to look at the potential transfer of tactical Russian nuclear weapons to Belarus as the extension of an ongoing political and human rights crisis in Belarus. We remind the UNSC of the illegitimacy of the Lukashenka regime and urge it to consider the actions of Putin and Lukashenka as a violation of the UNSC Resolution 1540, which obligates all UN member states to take measures to prevent the proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction.
We call on the UNSC to impose sanctions and apply other available tools against the governments of Russia and Belarus, including personal sanctions against key decision-makers in civil and military branches of these governments.
Belarus must remain free of nuclear weapons to secure not only the safety of its citizens but also of the entire region of Eastern Europe.
About the Belarusian Canadian Alliance (BCA)
The Belarusian Canadian Alliance (BCA) has represented the Belarusian
community in Canada since 1948. Throughout these years, it has built close
relationships with many other diaspora organizations in Canada, as well as the
Coordination Council of Belarus led by the President-Elect Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.
The organization has repeatedly called on the Belarusian authorities to immediately
release all illegally detained Belarusians and political prisoners, fully investigate all
violations of human rights, and run a fair and transparent election.