Meeting with Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu

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Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko met with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at the Palace of Independence in Minsk on 3 December.

“I think the Belarusian defense minister has already briefed you on the situation in Belarus, on the training and combat coordination of Belarusian and Russian units deployed in Belarus. I should say we have approached this matter very seriously. Both our and your officers train Belarusian and Russian soldiers, so that, if necessary, our defenders of the Union State could repel any aggression,” said the President. “Here I am talking about everything we need including medical kits, uniforms and weapons. There are no any divisions: we are a single group of forces, a single army. We are getting ready today. Everybody knows about it. We are not hiding it. In today's world it is impossible to hide such things.”

“In short, everything is done the way we agreed with the Russian President. You are not just fully aware of it. You are implementing it with our Defense Ministry. We are fulfilling the plans we have agreed upon,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

The head of state stressed that he was not going to scare anyone and opined on the opponents' readiness to resolve the situation. “I am not going to scare anyone here. Neither are you. Everybody is already overscared today. If they want our region to live peacefully (without looking at those over the ocean), both Russia and Belarus are ready for this. If they want to fight to either the last Ukrainian, or the last Pole, or the last mercenary, well, this is their right to do so. However, neither I nor our special services see that they are ready for full-fledged negotiations and for any reasonable agreement," said the President. “In our view they want to continue the war. Well, then the special operation will not stop. You probably know it better than me. We have met today to exchange opinions. Belarusians will do everything they must according to our agreement. No doubt about it.”

"We are not hiding in the shadows here. We have been open in terms of our position. Neither you nor we wanted war or want war. The then President Poroshenko [former Ukrainian President Piotr Poroshenko] made a statement recently (you probably saw it) as to why he needed the Minsk accords, the negotiations in 2014 and so on. It turns out he was preparing for war. Why do they accuse us then... Well, he was preparing for war, and today they are facing the consequences," the Belarusian leader added.

Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled that the day before he had a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin: "He called me yesterday. It was a long conversation. We discussed the situation around Belarus and Russia. He said you were going to visit here and that we would continue the discussion. We will develop a common position in terms of our further actions to protect our territorial integrity."

In turn, Sergei Shoigu thanked Belarus for hospitality, primarily with regard to the military who are in Belarus as part of the joint regional task force. "They really feel at home here. The people are hospitable and the military are doing everything to achieve greater cohesion, greater combat coordination," he said.

"Therefore, I thank you, Aleksandr Grigorievich. I have come with best wishes from our President. I am ready to discuss the topics that you talked about on the phone," the head of the Russian Defense Ministry added.