Dr. Mariana Budjeryn, Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom (MTA) at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center:
The announcement of Russia’s decision to deploy nuclear weapons to Belarus is the continuation of Russia’s tactic to use nuclear saber-rattling to induce nuclear anxieties in the West. In terms of military utility, Russian nuclear deployments to Belarus don’t change anything. Russia has plenty of bases, delivery systems and nuclear weapons deployed on its own territory, some of them very close to the Ukrainian border, that could serve the same mission as anything deployed to Belarus. So the move is purely political.
Dr. Stephen Herzog, Senior Researcher, ETH Zurich, Center for Security Studies:
Putin's statement about moving Russian tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus is, of course, concerning. The forward deployment of nuclear weapons to regions close to conflict zones increases risks of escalation, nuclear weapons use, and misperception. Although, there is no evidence yet that the Kremlin has moved any of its arsenal to Belarus. But I expect to see reports from open-source intelligence analysts in the near- to medium-term future tracking any potential movement of warheads from Russia to Belarus.