MOSCOW, June 23. /TASS/. Russia has no plans to send troops to occupy Belarus on the pretext of conducting joint military drills, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the Belarusian media on the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
When commenting on the concerns voiced by the Baltic states, he said that "there could not be an idea more absurd than this one." "It is hard to believe that this idea is voiced by people who claim to be respectable European politicians," he added. "Both Russian and Belarusian authorities have more than once rejected the rumors saying that we are allegedly getting ready to bring troops into Belarus under the pretext of joint military exercises to ensure our eternal military presence there," Lavrov stressed.
The issue of deploying a Russian military base to Belarus is not discussed, and military exercises involving Russian troops in the neighboring country are held in accordance with the decisions agreed within the framework of the Union State, Lavrov said.
"I have not heard that the military base issue had been raised recently. We took note the Belarusian president’s decision who made it entirely within the scope of his powers and competence," the minister said. "We have great respect for it, and I do not think anyone is seeking any presence of Russian troops on the territory of Belarus without the consent from the Belarusian leadership."
"Let me emphasize once again that the military exercises that are regularly held in Belarus with the participation of Russian armed forces contingents are the result of the coordinated decisions made by the heads of state, the decisions that are implemented on a transparent bases and in full compliance with the obligations within the Union State," Russia’s top diplomat said.