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Belarus does not need Russian military base, can defend nation alone, president says

Minsk is against establishing a Russian military base on Belarusian soil, the president says
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko EPA-EFE/TATYANA ZENKOVICH
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko

MINSK, November 6. /TASS/. Minsk is against establishing a Russian military base on Belarusian soil since the country can ensure its own security, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told a meeting attended by a group of US analysts.

"The discussion on the issue of a Russian base on the territory of Belarus is held very often. This is a far-fetched issue…We have a military and political alliance with Russia and it makes no difference whatsoever if a military base is established here or not," Lukashenko said.

Belarus is opposed to plans for setting up this base not because Minsk wants to show that it is sovereign and independent, he stressed. "We are not establishing it because we don’t need it here. According to our military and defense plan with Russia, we will fulfill these functions ourselves."

The Belarusian military is capable of efficiently countering any aggression and conflict on the country’s territory, Lukashenko stressed. "That’s because we are on our own land. I once again emphasize that there aren’t any [foreign military] bases not because we want to win somebody’s favor. No, we are just capable of fulfilling the functions in line with the treaty with Russia," he said.

If Belarus couldn’t do that, it would ask Russia to ensure its security, the president noted. "Now there is no need for this," Lukashenko said, adding that the Belarusian Armed Forces have undergone four reforms and "are capable of ensuring their security and fulfilling the functions better than any other country, including Russia."

Military base in Poland

Belarus may require new, more effective weapon systems, if NATO steps up its activity and creates a military base in Poland, Lukashenko said.

"If NATO goes ahead with its policy of attempts to intimidate us [or takes action], such as the deployment of a military base in Poland, or if there are some other moves, then we will need more effective weapons, missiles in the first place," Lukashenko said.

He recalled that Belarus lately created its own missile industry and produced high accuracy missiles systems.

"For now I do not even see any need for inviting the forces of other states, including Russia, to the territory of Belarus, for performing our functions under the treaty with Russia, because we are strongly against any deployment of an air base," Lukashenko said.

He recalled that it takes any plane to approach Belarussian territory an estimated three to five minutes.

"Why should there be a base here then? Why should we expose ourselves to a potential aggressor by placing a base in the forefront? One or two missiles - and the runway will be blown up," Lukashenko said.

Currently Poland hosts a US armor brigade of 3,500 men on the rotation basis. Also, there is a multi-national battalion of NATO (another 1,000 men). A US air base in Redzikowo will emerge by 2020.