President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko of Belarus arrived at the Kremlin on Wednesday, ahead of a planned meeting the following day with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir V. Putin, on the expanding military and economic ties between the two countries.
Their close alliance has allowed Russia to bolster Belarus’s readiness to deploy nuclear weaponry. On Tuesday, the Russian minister of defense, Sergei Shoigu, said that Russia had delivered to Belarus an Iskander-M missile system, which is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads.
In addition, Mr. Shoigu said, speaking on a conference call with leaders of the Russian armed forces, half of the assault aircraft in the Belarus armed forces now have the means to deliver nuclear weapons, he said.
Mr. Putin announced last month that he planned to station nuclear warheads in the neighboring state, and Mr. Lukashenko said he would allow it if the need arose.
Belarus has served as a staging ground for Russian forces attacking Ukraine, although Mr. Lukashenko has sought to avoid getting enmeshed in the conflict, which is unpopular at home. The Kremlin, which supplies Minsk with heavily subsidized gas and other assistance, seeks ever closer ties.
Russia, Belarus and Ukraine were long considered the spine of both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, which is one reason that Mr. Putin is believed to be trying to force Ukraine back into Moscow’s orbit.
On arriving at the Kremlin on Wednesday, Mr. Lukashenko said, “Missiles are flying and military vehicles are on the move both in Russia and in Belarus, so we will overcome everything; it will take a little time,” according to a Kremlin transcript of their opening remarks.