Working trip to Minsk Oblast
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko got familiar with the production of ammunition in Belarus during his working trip to Minsk Oblast on 13 June.
Upon the arrival the head of state firstly asked the Minsk Oblast governor on the influence of the current weather conditions on the future harvest.
“The soil is getting drier, isn’t it?” the President asked.
“Unevenly,” Aleksandr Turchin replied.
Aleksandr Lukashenko urged to pay special attention to keep grassy fodder. In his words, it will be possible to buy cereals if such a need arises, but grassy fodder must be prepared in the maximum volume.
After arriving at one of the enterprises of the military-industrial complex in Minsk Oblast the head of state asked if the responsible persons had fulfilled the task on launching the production of domestic ammunition.
“Dear Comrade Commander-in-Chief, your instruction to set up the production of the most in-demand types of ammunition in the Republic of Belarus have been fulfilled,” Chairman of the State Authority for Military Industry Dmitry Pantus said. According to him, the relevant work started in November 2022, and today the enterprises affiliated with the State Authority for Military Industry and the Industry Ministry produce more than 50 parts for this type of ammunition.
The head of state was briefed on the launch of mass production of RS-122mm rockets in Belarus.
“They are very needed in the army,” the Belarusian leader said. Both high-precision modern weapons and simpler ones such as machine guns, and grenade launchers play an important role in combat operations. “Rockets, high-precision weapons, jets, helicopters, Leopards, Bradleys are destroyed in the same way as Soviet tanks and infantry fighting vehicles (we have recently seen this during the first stage of the counteroffensive)... It is good that we have decided against expensive things which we would not be able to produce, but would have had to buy. On the ground, all this armament and also machine guns and grenade launchers solve very big problems,” the President said.
According to him, armament such as, for example, multiple launch rocket systems, Shkval torpedo systems (modernized Grad systems) are in demand today. They are in great demand and solve big problems on the frontline. Ammunition is also needed for them.
“I'm not saying that those [expensive high-precision weapons] are not needed. They are needed. However, without these [simpler weapons] there will be no victory on the frontline,” the President stressed.
“Hardware needs ammunition,” the head of state continued. Therefore, mass production of ammunition has been launched in Belarus following the Belarusian President’s instruction. Very soon this production will reach its full capacity.
“We will make 10,000-12,000 pieces of ammunition a year. Since we are a 'dictatorship' we can reach the annual production of 15,000 pieces,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The President paid special attention to ammunition storage conditions. He recalled that the country still had many storage facilities for nuclear weapons which remained from the past. After assuming the office of the President, Aleksandr Lukashenko visited one of these storage facilities, which then housed ammunition for the Topol systems. Then, amid a difficult economic situation and under significant external pressure, the President had to make the decision to renounce nuclear weapons. “In the light of the current situation we have to bring them back,” the head of state said.
The President talked to mass media representatives during the working trip to Minsk Oblast.
According to the Western mass media, Russia is seeking to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus ahead of the NATO summit in Vilnius on 11-12 July. They interpret these actions as an attempt at nuclear blackmail. The President was asked to dot the i's and explain why Belarus needs nuclear weapons and what the conditions for their storage and use are.
“It is not about Russia at all,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. He stressed that nuclear weapons will be deployed in Belarus at his personal request to Russia to guarantee the security of the country.
“First I asked the Russian President, then insisted in a friendly manner that they give me back these weapons [tactical not strategic]. They’d be enough for the time being,” Aleksandr Lukashenko explained.
According to the President, currently there is no need to deploy strategic nuclear weapons, for example, the Russian Topol missiles in Belarus: “Why should I need strategic Topol missiles? We are preparing sites for these weapons though. They are all operational, except one. Therefore, if need arises, we are ready to deploy these weapons at any time.”
“Topol is an intercontinental missile. Am I going to fight the United States? No, I am not. These [tactical nuclear] weapons are enough for me for now,” the head of state added.
“That was my request. It was not Russia that imposed this decision on me. Why? Because, as you all say, no one has even fought with a nuclear power. I do not want anybody to fight with us. Is there such a threat? Yes, there is. I have to prevent this threat,” the President explained.
He recalled that one of his first proposals to Russia was to equip several Belarusian multiple-launch rocket systems Polonez with nuclear warheads. The task turned out to be too complicated. Therefore, the decision was taken to prepare storage facilities and deploy tactical nuclear weapons. “Everything is ready. I think it will take a few more days, and we will have what we have asked for. And maybe even a little more,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The conditions created for the storage of such weapons, with all necessary requirements met, are comparable to a surgery block in a hospital, the head of state said. Belarus fulfilled all the requirements, and even the Russian representatives were surprised to see everything done at such a high level. They could not believe it was possible. “Yes, it is possible,” the President said. “We have prepared everything, and are implementing the program we have outlined with the President of Russia.”
Speaking about the reasons for the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, the President said: "Why do we need them? To make sure not a single foreign soldier sets their foot on the Belarusian land again."
The reason for the use of such weapons, according to him, can be only one - an aggression against Belarus. "A response will be immediate. I have declared this several times already," the Belarusian leader added.
Emphasizing the significant power of the nuclear weapons that will be deployed in Belarus, the head of state said: "I think hardly anyone will want to fight with a country that has such weapons. It's a deterrent weapon."
Belarus would like to avoid situations where nuclear weapons would have to be used. "God forbid that I have to make a decision to use these weapons. But there will be no hesitation in the event of an aggression against us," Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
Speaking about the elections in the United States, the head of state noted that it is not that important as to who will become the next candidate and win the election race. "Biden or somebody else. He does what they say. Does he make his own decisions?” Aleksandr Lukashenko asked a rhetorical question. “Appropriate people make decisions. So the unbelievable things can happen there."
According to polls, Joe Biden is losing to Donald Trump. But this fact does not mean anything, the President stressed.
"We have seen how they hold elections in the United States. By mail or for money. It's a nightmare! We are innocent. Our ‘dictatorship’ is innocent compared to their ‘democratic’ elections. It's a nightmare. If all these nuances are taken into account, then we see that anything can happen there," Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “But if Trump wins... Everyone says nice things when campaigning. An election campaign is one thing. Solving issues is a whole another story. The machine in the United States is working, and no President will be able to go against this machine. His powers are different to, for example, those of Lukashenko or Putin."
At the same time, the head of state believes that Donald Trump is more decisive and can make decisions in defiance of those who control the situation. "He will have to fulfill his promises to end the war (in part, if not in full). He put it too directly: ‘I would end the way in a day. We will root for him to come to power and stop the NATO machine, which is fighting against Russia today," Aleksandr Lukashenko added.
Aleksandr Lukashenko explained the reason behind his decision to pardon Roman Protasevich and Sofia Sapega.
“As for Roman Protasevich, everything is clear here. Certain conditions were set before him. Keeping in mind what happened before and after, we agreed with him on certain things. This man did everything he promised. He did it not because he wanted to save his life or avoid going to jail. No, this is not the case. He admitted that what he did was wrong. He did not take part in combat, he did not kill anyone. We checked it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The situation with Sofia Sapega was different. She is a Russian citizen, and there were plans to extradite her to Russia before the trial. But the process dragged on, the head of state said. The President added that her parents were kept in the loop.
“Some say, she fell in love and decided to get involved. Yes, she is guilty. But she is not our citizen. They were planning to move her to Russia for about six months. The red tape was not on our side,” the President said.
During a visit of Governor of Russia’s Primorye Territory Oleg Kozhemyako to Belarus, the decision was taken to pardon Sofia Sapega so that she could return home.
Aleksandr Lukashenko also responded to the criticism of him pardoning Sofia Sapega: “I hear you. I respect your opinion. But, believe me, you do not know everything. I have never been a traitor and I will go through thick and thin. There will never be any pardoning for Tikhanovskaya, Latushko and the kind. They have brought so much harm to the country. They are the ones most culpable. They work hard to lure some of our people who are willing to do anything to earn a little extra, to get a drink, to get high and so on. They talk about the Kalinovsky Regiment. It comprises fewer than 200 fighters, maybe 100 today. A lot of them have been killed. And many of them want to return home, back to the ‘dictatorship’. But they cannot go back. The anti-retreat units are behind them.”
“These Tikhanovskaya-Latushko-like oppositionists receive millions in money. We see this. They pocket this money and send these fools to the frontline or to Belarus to commit terrorist attacks. Who is most to blame? These bastards. They will never be forgiven, because they have blood on their hands. They will be held responsible for this,” the head of state said.
The President recalled that a special commission had been set up in Belarus to help self-exiled opposition representatives return home. “If we launched this process, we must apply it on a comprehensive basis,” he added. “If we deemed them as dangerous and or if we saw a threat of the 2020 event to repeat, then, of course, I would never go for it.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko also commented on the rumors of his ill health as he talked to the media.
"Everything that has been written is a lie. I just had to work through it. Though it’s better to take time off when you catch a cold," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The President said that he had an adenovirus. This is a fairly common disease. "Not as contagious as the coronavirus, but there is nothing good and pleasant about it. It takes a long time to recover completely from it, as experts told me. Three months, maybe... Everything that media reported was a lie. They reported that they took me to the Central Clinical Hospital [of Moscow]. I don't even know where this Central Clinical Hospital is. This is utter nonsense. If I indeed needed help, Putin would have a dozen doctors from the same Central Clinical Hospital sent to me within a few hours," the head of state said.
"These are lies. Don't believe them. I was on my feet, running, jumping, even playing hockey. But I realized that working through it was not a good idea because it takes longer to recover. This is what happened to me," Aleksandr Lukashenko said. "Don't worry, I'm very much alive and intend to stay that way!"