In the 1990s, Belarus was incapable of using its strategic nuclear arsenal inherited from the former Soviet Union, a Belarussian military expert told Interfax on condition of anonymity.
"The top military-political leadership was split in the 1990s over whether or not strategic nuclear weapons should be removed from Belarus. The final decision was to remove them to Russia," the expert said.
But if strategic nuclear weapons had remained in Belarus, the Russian military-political leadership would have had the sole right to issue the order to use them, he said.
Moscow alone exercised control over all Belarsusian forces equipped with nuclear weapons. The use of nuclear weapons was not only under administrative limitations, but also under technical restriction with a high level of protection and reliability," the expert said.
Former Belarussian Defense Minister Pyotr Chaus said the Belarussian leadership's decision to remove strategic nuclear weapons to Russia had been made in haste, the Interfax reports.