Lukashenko signed a decree renouncing Belarus non-nuclear status
President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, signed the decree to change the constitution after the referendum.Source: B92
A new constitution was approved in a referendum in Belarus, renouncing its non-nuclear status at a time when the former Soviet republic has become a starting point for Russian troops attacking Ukraine, Russian news agencies reported.
The Belarusian Election Commission announced that 65.2 percent of those who came out voted in favor.
The new constitution allows for nuclear weapons on Belarusian soil for the first time since the country renounced them after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The West has previously announced that it will not recognize the results of the referendum, which is being held due to the general showdown with the Belarusian opposition and opponents of the Lukashenko regime. According to human rights activists, there are currently more than a thousand political prisoners in Belarus.
The referendum sparked anti-war protests in several cities. At least 290 people have been detained, human rights activists said. Mass protests erupted in 2020 after disputed elections that the opposition claims were rigged.
After Lukashenko launched a violent action against the protesters, the protests have largely subsided. Speaking at a polling station on Sunday, Lukashenko said he could ask Russia to return nuclear weapons to Belarus.
"If (the West) transfers nuclear weapons to Poland or Lithuania, to our borders, then I will turn to Putin to return the nuclear weapons that I gave without any conditions," Lukashenko said.