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Belarus

Umbrella state (bilateral arrangement with Russia)

Belarus did not participate in the TPNW negotiations in 2017, and has consistently abstained on the annual UN General Assembly resolutions on the Treaty, including in 2022. It may sign and ratify or accede to the TPNW, but will have to make changes to its policies and practices to become compliant.

TPNW Status

SIGNATURE
DEPOSIT WITH UNSG
ENTRY INTO FORCE
DECLARATION
TPNW Article 1(1) prohibitions: Compatibility in 2022
(a) Develop, produce, manufacture, acquire Compatible
Test Compatible
Possess or stockpile Compatible
(b) Transfer Compatible
(c) Receive transfer or control Compatible
(d) Use Compatible
Threaten to use Compatible
(e) Assist, encourage or induce Not compatible
(f) Seek or receive assistance Not compatible
(g) Allow stationing, installation, deployment Compatible
TPNW voting and participation
UNGA resolution on TPNW (latest vote) Abstained (2023)
Participated in 1MSP (2022) No
1MSP delegation size (% women) N/A
Adoption of TPNW (7 July 2017) N/A
Participated in TPNW negotiations (2017) No
Negotiation mandate (A/RES/71/258) Abstained
Other weapons of mass destruction (WMD) treaties
Party to an NWFZ No
Party to the NPT Yes (Acceded 1993)
Ratified the CTBT Yes (Ratified 2000)
Party to the BWC Yes (Ratified 1975)
Party to the CWC Yes (Ratified 1996)
IAEA safeguards and fissile material
Safeguards agreement Yes (2 Aug 1995)
TPNW Art 3(2) deadline N/A
Small Quantities Protocol No
Additional Protocol No (Signed 2005)
Enrichment facilities/reprocessing plants No
HEU stocks 100–1000 kg
Plutonium stocks No

Latest developments

In February 2022, Belarus approved a new national constitution that removed the country’s previously enshrined commitment to the absence of nuclear weapons from its territory.1 In June 2022, Belarus agreed with Russia that it would be involved in a nuclear sharing scheme with deployment of Russian dual-capable Iskander missiles to Belarus, conversion of Belarusian warplanes to nuclear-capable status, and training of Belarusian pilots. Deployment of nuclear warheads to Belarus has not taken place but analysts believe it could be an option.2 At the Tenth Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in August 2022, Belarus insisted that ‘any insinuations regarding a change in Belarus’ non-nuclear status, as well as its non-compliance with NPT obligations, are unfounded’.3

Marking the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons on 26 September 2022, Belarus said that ‘Supporters of the international codification of norms aimed at a complete ban on nuclear weapons, who initiated the development of the [TPNW], no doubt were guided by a noble goal.' but that it 'is naïve to believe' that significant shifts in nuclear disarmament will happen in the foreseeable future.4

Recommendations

  • Belarus should renounce the possession and potential use of nuclear weapons on its behalf, and ensure that nuclear weapons do not have a role in its defence posture.

  • Belarus should comply with its existing obligation under Article VI of the NPT and pursue negotiations in good faith on nuclear disarmament.

  • Belarus should urgently adhere to the TPNW. Until it is in a position to do so, it should welcome the TPNW as a valuable component in the global disarmament and non-proliferation architecture, work with the Treaty's states parties on practical steps towards disarmament, and attend the meetings of states parties as an observer.

  • Belarus should bring into force its Additional Protocol with the IAEA.

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