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Russia to ship planes, helicopters and, possibly, S-400 to Belarus, Lukashenko claims

Alexander Lukashenko emphasized that Belarus would decide if it needed more weapons to buy from the Russian Federation during the Zapad-2021 exercise
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko Sergei Sheleg/BelTA/TASS
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko
© Sergei Sheleg/BelTA/TASS

MINSK, September 1. /TASS/. Russia will ship "dozens" of planes, helicopters and air defense systems - possibly, including the S-400 ones - to Belarus shortly, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told journalists Wednesday.

"In the nearest future - I signed the order two days ago - the Russian Federation will ship us - I won’t tell what exactly and the exact amount of money - dozens of planes, dozens of helicopters, and essential air defense weapons, maybe even S-400. We need them very much, I said that already," Lukashenko said, according to BelTA.

"In a word, the most modern equipment. We will equip ourselves. If we see during the exercise [Zapad-2021] that we need something else, then we will buy it from the Russian Federation and commission it," the Belarusian leader said.

Minsk interested in Russian weapons

During his meeting with the public in early August, Lukashenko stated that Belarus is interested in procurement of S-400 missile air defense systems. He disclosed that Belarus contacted Russian President Vladimir Putin for shipment of S-400 "for a special price, on credit." Lukashenko expressed his certainty at the time that Russia will ship S-400 to Belarus.

The Belarusian leader stated that Minsk intends to spend a portion of the credit provided by Moscow for construction of the nuclear power plant to procure modern weapons from Russia. According to Lukashenko, the sum stands between $300 and $500 million.

Belarusian Security Council Secretary Alexander Wolfovich, who was present at the meeting, disclosed that the Belarusian Armed development plan includes procurement of at least three Tor-M2 air defense batteries.

Plans for shipment of weapons to Belarus

The Belarusian Armed Forces prepare to re-arm its air defense forces and equip them with the S-400 missile air defense systems, developed in Russia, Major General Igor Golub commander of Belarusian Air and Air Defense Forces said in January.

In late June, Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Deputy Head Andrey Boytsov said that Russia is ready to look into shipment of S-400 systems and Pantsir-S1 air defense systems, if Minsk filed an official request.

In April, Belarusian Chief of Staff Andrey Gurtsevich disclosed that the second shipment of four Su-30SM planes is expected shortly, adding that a contract for four Mi-35 helicopters was signed. According to Gurtsevich, pre-contract work was underway on procurement of Pantsir-S and S-400 air defense systems.

In February, Belarusian Ministry of Defense announced that Belarus will receive four Su-30SM planes in October 2022.