Russia's deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus is not time-limited, state news agency TASS quoted a senior Russian diplomat on Monday as saying.
Russia announced in March that it was deploying tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus, a close ally that has provided support for Moscow's attack on Ukraine. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said the weapons began arriving last month.
The impact of deploying nuclear weapons from Russia to Belarus
The deployment is Moscow's first move of such warheads - shorter-range less powerful nuclear weapons that could potentially be used on the battlefield - outside Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union.
"As for the possible time frame for the presence of Russian tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus, the Russian-Belarusian agreements do not imply any restrictions in this regard," TASS cited Alexei Polishchuk, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's department of former Soviet states, as saying in an interview.
Polishchuk said the weapons could hypothetically be removed from Belarus if the United States and NATO "refrained from undermining the security and sovereignty of Russia and Belarus."