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MINSK, April 21. /TASS/. Belarus will go ahead with its military-technical cooperation with Russia, but at the same time it finds it feasible to step up the dialog with NATO, President Aleksandr Lukashenko said in his annual message to the country’s parliament and people.
"We will go ahead with close military-technical cooperation with Russia," Lukashenko said. "It is in the interests of Belarus to deepen the dialog with NATO step by step. This is important for easing the potential risks, bearing in mind that NATO’s infrastructures are near our borders."
Lukashenko said the West preferred to keep quiet about the fact it had deployed "the most advanced attack systems, including drones, in Poland and not only in Poland."
"But when we authorized the Polonez rocket system for service, there followed hue and cry… Why do you make such a fuss? We will have to protect ourselves if something go wrong, God forbid… We do not want war and you do not want war. Why do you deploy weapons near our borders then?" Lukashenko said.
"We should act together, without deceiving each other. We should make steps towards each other, address other issues, take care of the economy and rear children," he said.
At the same time Lukashenko acknowledged that it was difficult for any country to confront the challenges of the modern world on one’s own.
"In that sphere Belarus hopes for cooperation within the CSTO and the Union State with Russia," Lukashenko said. "The army is the most solid argument that is capable of cooling the hotheads."
"We have upgraded the communication systems, navigation, the fleet of combat aircraft and successfully tested the multiple rocket system Polonez," Lukashenko said. "Also we have commissioned a number of military vehicles of Belarussian manufacture - the combat reconnaissance vehicle Stalker, the newest model of the anti-tank system Shershen and the tracked transport vehicle Moskit."