Aleksandr Lukashenko holds session to discuss development of Belarusian army

    No one should dare threaten to use military force against Belarus, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the government session held on 20 August to discuss the development of the Belarusian army.

    The Belarusian President emphasized that all countries build their armed forces depending on the international situation and the situation in the region they live and work.

    According to the President, the military and political situation, especially in recent decades, has revealed dramatic changes in international relations: “The global powers still attempt to shape the foreign and domestic policy of the so-called non-allied countries. They employ a variety of instruments, including armed struggle”.

    Fortunately, this has never happened in Belarus and is very unlikely to happen here in the future, the President said. However, western countries and Nato, including the USA, use other methods to pressurize Belarus.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that the international situation has been very turbulent recently; the countries that were treated as allies have become unwanted. “The situation is getting absurd: they have deposed everything they could in the Arab arc, in the north of Africa and in the East. Now they are about to start a new round of overthrows acting like peacekeepers, especially the European Union,” the head of state said.

    “Our Armed Forces are designed to prevent wars. At the same time they should be ready to defend the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the country in the new reality,” the President said.

    The President believes that the Belarusian army should be able to provide an adequate response to new challenges and threats that emerged in the 21st century. “However, the Armed Forces should be resourced in line with the present-day reality,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. Therefore, the further steps to improve the army should be well-balanced and carefully planned.

    He also noted that a lot has been done in recent years to develop various combat systems and territorial defense, to improve garrison towns and other infrastructure facilities. “In the nearest future, people in charge and I will check what is going on there. This will be well-timed taking into consideration that we are going to hold the West 2013 joint exercise with the Russian Federation,” the President said.

    The head of state informed that the purpose of the meeting was to analyze the state of affairs in the Armed Forces, the existing issues and ways to resolve them.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked it was necessary to take good care of the excessive military products the army has. “And of those, which we don’t actually need due to the ongoing modernization of the Armed Forces,” he added.

    “We certainly have to get rid of them without breaking international commitments before the merchandise becomes outdated and as long as someone needs it. It has to be done wisely,” underlined the head of state.

    The President pointed out the need to continue optimizing the structure and reducing personnel numbers of the Belarusian army. The head of state reminded that the Belarusian army used to number up to 200,000 people. At present the numbers are close to 100,000. “We don’t need these numbers nowadays. It is not numbers that matter today as far as armed forces are concerned,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. “Optimization should stay on the track it has used until now”.

    The President told the government to take a closer look at the financial support the army needs taking into account his instructions and the present-day reality. “The military should understand what we can do and what we cannot,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. “At the same time it is necessary to clearly remember that we and our nation are not going to feed foreign soldiers,” added the head of state.

    The President said that close attention should be paid to additional targeted funding for the sake of carrying out top-priority measures concerning the air force and the air defense. “Analyzing recent conflicts and wars, we have determined that air force and air defense are what matters today. Since it is the key part of our Armed Forces, it will be given our top-priority attention,” stressed Aleksandr Lukashenko.

    President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko instructed the Defense Ministry to get down to the practical implementation of the arrangements made with the Russian Federation concerning air force and air defense systems. The President remarked that it has to be done taking into account results of recent meetings with the Russian Defense Minister and our arrangements with President of Russia Vladimir Putin.