Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko met with Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on 16 September.
“We have agreed with the Russian President that we should continue the exercise Slavyanskoye Bratstvo 2020 [Slavonic Brotherhood] that is taking place near Brest. We welcome this exercise and it is good that it is proceeding very well, as they tell me. We need to consider holding the second stage of this exercise and other military drills and work out a plan without caring about what others might say. We are not going to make anyone nervous or do anything blatantly, but we should take care of our own interests,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Russia’s delegation led by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu arrived in Belarus on a working visit. The delegation will discuss military cooperation between Belarus and Russia. “I asked the Russian President for some types of weapons. I told him that when you come we will see what we need to do to strengthen the Union State. There is nothing to be afraid of; we are ready to go for it. The recent events suggest that we should step up efforts to protect the interests of Belarusians and Russians. It happened that we are left alone with it, but we are not the weakest,” the head of state said.
“If someone thinks that Belarus has become weaker, that we will not survive and that Russia will step aside, these speculations can only deceive fools. We are capable of maintaining control over the situation not only in Belarus, but also along our border. Do not doubt our capability to defend our common Fatherland from Brest to Vladivostok. The recent developments give us more grounds to stick together and to frustrate plans to drive a wedge between us in the future,” the President said.
The Russian defense minister responded that Belarusian and Russian military have plans to conduct about 130 joint events this year, including drills, meetings, joint sessions both in the bilateral format and on the sidelines of international events. Now, for example, the Slavonic Brotherhood exercise is taking place. “Unfortunately, only 30% of the program has been fulfilled. We need to fulfill at least 70% of the program by the end of the year. To do this we need to conduct the second stage of the exercise which is now underway. In October we will have another exercise,” Sergei Shoigu added.