Russian airbase deployment in Belarus will perhaps not be discussed – Defense Minister

The issue of the possible establishment of a Russian airbase in Belarus remains undecided and will perhaps not be discussed, Belarusian Defense Minister Andrey Raukou told news agency BelaPAN at the House of Representatives on Friday.

“The issue was not discussed and perhaps, will not be discussed,” he said.

As reported earlier, the Defense Minister sees no rationale for such a step.

“What is the point to deploy an airbase [Russian –] in Belarus? There is no point yet. We believe that our neighbors, especially the newly elected President of Poland, asked NATO, and NATO agreed to deploy four bases of different kinds, including an air base, in the immediate vicinity of the borders of Belarus. And the answer is simple: perhaps, we could deploy some destruction facilities which are able to defeat these [NATO] objects in good time and in the right place? It will be much more efficient than an airbase,” Andrey Raukou said in an interview with state-run television ONT.

On December 14-15 Belarusian president Alyaksandr Lukashenka was on the official visit to Russia where he had talks with Vladimir Putin. If what the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said is true, the issue of a Russian airbase in Belarus was not raised.

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The next meeting of Lukashenka and Putin is scheduled for December 21 as part of the CSTO summit.

In September, the Russian government presented Putin a draft project on the establishment of a military airbase in Belarus. The Russian president signed the document and empowered the government to prepare the corresponding agreement in Minsk.

In early October Lukashenka, however, stated that Minsk and Moscow had never had any talk of deploying a Russian airbase in the territory of Belarus.

“Our opposition has been wailing about the deployment of a Russian airbase in Belarus lately. I know nothing about such plans. I am the man in charge of making such decisions and I know nothing about such plans.We don’t need a base these days. We don’t need military air forces either. We need certain weapons. It is what I’ve been saying to Putin and earlier to Medvedev,” he said.

Read also: ‘Is Belarus really our ally?’ Russians slam Minsk sitting on the fence over conflict with Turkey, following BelaPAN

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