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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 2023. It may sign and ratify or accede to the TPNW, but will have to make changes to its policies and practices to become compliant. In June 2023, the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, announced that his country had started taking delivery of Russian tactical nuclear weapons. ‘We have missiles and bombs that we have received from Russia,’ he said in a television interview. ‘The bombs are three times more powerful than those [dropped by the United States on] Hiroshima and Nagasaki.’[1]

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 Non-compatible
(f) Seek or receive assistance Non-compatible
(g) Allow stationing, installation, deployment Non-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

Many States, particularly members of NATO, condemned the announced deployment, including in their statements to the First Committee of the UN General Assembly in October 2023.2 Some accused Belarus of breaching its obligations as a non-nuclear-weapon state under the NPT. But Belarus argued that the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons on its territory ‘is carried out within the framework of international law and in strict accordance with the provisions of the NPT’.3

‘Such cooperation is not new, but has long been practised within NATO, both in the form of so-called “joint nuclear missions” and the deployment of US nuclear weapons on the territory of the five non-nuclear member countries of the alliance in Europe,’ it said, referring to Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Türkiye.

At the NPT Preparatory Committee meeting in August 2023, Belarus and Russia said that they ‘share the international community’s desire for a world free of nuclear weapons’ and described the NPT as ‘extremely important for strengthening global security and ensuring strategic stability’.4

Recommendations

  • Belarus should renounce the possession and potential use of nuclear weapons on its behalf, end the hosting of foreign nuclear weapons on its territory, 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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