Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized his ministers to sign an agreement providing for the establishment of a new Russian airbase in Belarus.
Although talks with Minsk are to be carried out, experts have no doubt that the document will be signed.
Pavel Sevyarynets, Belarusian Christian Democracy Party:
“Lukashenka may start to get out of it – he may put off enforcing the agreement or specify the details of inspection or transportation. But what is important that this [agreement] is the standing point that will help call Lukashenka to order.”
At the Second Forum of Regions of Russia and Belarus the both leaders publicly exchanged ritualistic statements. Lukashenka assured that he had never betrayed Russia.
“We should not be criticized for shifting to anywhere. We have nowhere to shift. We have been always together and we will be together for a rather long time.”
And Putin also promised his support to the Belarusian counterpart.
“I am confident that these election will be held at the highest level and in accordance with our, Belarusian and international standards. I wish you every success,” he said.
It is still unknown what leaders were talking about behind the scenes, but after this meeting Russian media reported that Putin okayed establishing a military base in Belarus.
Pavel Sevyarynets, the Belarusian Christian Democracy:
“For 20 years in Russia’s arms Lukashenka has given Putin so many levers of influence that it is hard to specify now which one was used in Sochi. But in fact, the situation is very bad, and remnants of Belarusian independence might be lost without being noticed.”
There has been no confirmed information about the location area of the Russian air base yet. It was reported that it might be deployed in Babruysk, Baranavichi or Lida. The agreement on the deployment of the military facility will be signed for a term of 15 years, but then it may be immediately extended every fifth year.