Aleksandr Lukashenko meets with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu

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Belarus will remain committed to cooperation with Russia in defense matters, said President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko as he met with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on 23 April.

“The Belarusians will always remain dedicated to the policy we declare publicly. We have no hidden agenda policy. We will always be united in actions, particularly in defense and security systems, we will act in the same manner,” assured the head of state.

In his words, cooperation between the Belarusian and Russian defense ministries involves no problems and these relations are a fine example in the Union State.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that an agreement had been reached earlier that the relevant specialists from both sides would review the mutual relations in defense matters. “We do not hide from anyone the fact that we are the closest nations and try to build a united policy in the common Union State. Since we have a common armed force in this direction within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Union State, then we should train it respectively,” said the head of state.

“We have never said that we have some offensive stance for our armed forces. We have enough land. We don’t lay claim to someone else’s property but we will not give away ours,” stressed the President.

The head of state said: “If we train our armed forces, security forces to defend our common interests, the land, then we have to arrange relevant events, including exercises. I don’t understand why the West is so concerned about our regular exercise. It is not the first one. We just polish our cooperation, new people have emerged, we check the system that was tuned a long time ago,” remarked the head of state.

“It does not target Poland, the Baltic countries, or NATO whatsoever,” stressed Aleksandr Lukashenko.

“But certainly they should understand that if they try to look our way in some mean manner, we will also respond to that,” remarked the Belarusian leader.

In turn, Sergei Shoigu noted that the sides are working hard to get ready for the forthcoming exercise. In his words, the event will once again allow verifying the readiness to respond to modern challenges and will reveal what else has to be done to ensure the security of Belarus and Russia.

The Defense Minister also mentioned several important avenues of the development of Belarusian-Russian cooperation in defense. “We are starting discussing the plan to set up an air base with fighter jets here. We hope that an air force regiment will be here already in 2015,” said the Russian Defense Minister.

According to Sergei Shoigu, there are plans to set up an air force command and control center in Belarus in 2013 and deploy the first on-duty flight of fighters.

Sergei Shoigu reminded that Belarus and Russia are busy implementing a joint program to create a regional air defense system, which, in his words, should be reliable and thorough, should protect the air space and borders of the Union State. Apart from that, a major military technology cooperation program is in progress.

“We plan to continue thinking about matters required to enhance the defensive capability of our Belarusian colleagues and brothers,” he added.