Russia to deploy submarines carrying nuclear-capable torpedoes to Pacific, move tactical nukes to Belarus

Russia plans to form a division of special-purpose submarines that will carry Poseidon nuclear-capable torpedoes as part of the country's Pacific Fleet by the end of 2024 or the first half of 2025, Russia's TASS news agency reported on Monday.

Russia said in January that it had produced the first set of the Poseidon torpedoes, four years after President Vladimir Putin announced the fundamentally new type of strategic nuclear weapon, confirming it would have its own nuclear power supply.

In late March, Russia said that the coastal infrastructure for the submarines that would carry the Poseidon torpedoes will be finished on the Kamchatka Peninsula, where Russia's Pacific Fleet's ballistic nuclear missile submarine base is located.

"The decision to form a division of special-purpose nuclear submarines in Kamchatka has been made," TASS cited an unidentified defence source as saying. "We are talking about December 2024 or the first half of 2025."

There are few confirmed details about the Poseidon in the public domain, but military analysts say it is essentially a cross between a torpedo and a drone which can be launched from a nuclear submarine.

Russia placing nuclear weapons near Belarus' borders with NATO

Russia will move its tactical nuclear weapons close to the western borders of Belarus, the Russian envoy to Minsk said on Sunday, placing them at NATO's threshold in a move likely to further escalate Moscow's standoff with the West. In one of the Russia's most pronounced nuclear signals since the beginning of its invasion of Ukraine 13 months ago, Putin said on March 26 that Russia will station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

The two Slav neighbours are formally part of a "union state" and have been in talks for years to integrate further, a process that has accelerated after Minsk allowed Moscow to use Belarusian territory to send troops into Ukraine last year.

The weapons "will be moved to the western border of our union state and will increase the possibilities to ensure security," Russian ambassador to Belarus, Boris Gryzlov, told Belarusian state television.

"This will be done despite the noise in Europe and the United States."

Gryzlov did not specify where the weapons will be stationed, but confirmed that a storage facility will be completed, as ordered by Putin, by July 1 and then moved to the west of Belarus.

Belarus borders to the north with Lithuania and Latvia and to west with Poland, all part of NATO's Eastern flank that has been bolstered with additional troops and military equipment following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The U.S. and Kyiv's other allies have said they were concerned about the possibility that Russia would send tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus, with President Joe Biden saying it was "worrisome."

President Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday that Belarus would also allow Russia to put intercontinental nuclear missiles there too if necessary.