Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko casts his vote in the referendum held on February 27 in Minsk – Photo: REUTERS
On February 28, Russian news agencies quoted the head of the Central Election Commission Igor Karpenko as saying that 65.16% of the referendum participants voted in favor of the amendments and 10.07% abstained. vote against.
According to Mr. Karpenko, voter turnout was 78.63%. As a rule, amendments need to receive at least 50% of the votes in favor, the percentage of eligible voters must also be more than 50%.
Reuters news agency said that the new Belarusian constitution will include many changes, the most notable of which is that Belarus will give up denuclearization. This could pave the way for nuclear weapons to reappear in Belarus, for the first time since the dissolution of the (former) Soviet Union in 1991.
The move took place in the context of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement to put the strategic nuclear deterrent on alert.
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko previously stated that if the West moves nuclear weapons near its borders, Belarus is ready for Russia to deploy nuclear weapons on its territory without any preconditions.
Belarus received a number of nuclear warheads from the (former) Soviet Union after the breakup in 1991. According to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the Belarusian government later transferred nuclear weapons to Russia and maintained the relationship. status as a nuclear-free country for the past 30 years.
The new constitutional amendments also include a presidential term limit of two to five-year terms and apply to the elected president in the next election. Former presidents are granted lifetime immunity from prosecution after leaving office, according to AFP news agency.
The West announced that it would not recognize the referendum result and continued to accuse Belarus of participating in the attack on Ukraine with Russia.
Newspaper Washington Post Citing a US official who asked not to be named, Belarusian soldiers will join the war with Russia “as early as February 28”, but did not give more details.
The Kiev government previously claimed that Minsk had allowed Moscow to use its territory to launch an attack on Ukraine from its northern border. Belarus denies its troops are participating in the war in Ukraine but leaves open the possibility of deployment if necessary.