Belarus, Russia sign agreement on security forces’ cooperation

Law enforcement officers stand guard during a rally in support of Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, who was detained by police, accused of drug offences and later freed from house arrest, in Moscow, Russia June 12, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Russia’s National Guard (Rosgvardiya) and the Belarusian Interior Ministry concluded a cooperation agreement, Russian media report. They are set to help each other in ‘combating crime’.

“The uniformed srvices’ cooperation is to take place on the basis of a request of either interested party or at the initiative of the other party, if the latter considers that such support is necessary. Rosgvardiya and Belarus’ ministry are also expected to ensure the joint control of the arms trade,” the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reports, citing the agreement.

Rosgvardiya is known to have been separated from other bodies of the Russian Interior Ministry. As it reports not to the government but directly to the president, it is often commonly called ‘Putin’s army’.

What do Russia’s security services cost to run? (ENG explainer)

In addition, the agencies announced developing sports and cultural contacts; when necesary, Rosgvarfiya officers might receive treatment in health and holiday centres in Belarus soon while their Belarusian counterparts might come to Russia with the same purpose.

On August 9, the presidential vote was held in Belarus; its official results were not recognised by the EU and the United States. The Kremlin, in turn, acknowledged the legitimacy of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s sixth presidency.

In late August, Vladimir Putin announced Russia’s forming a reserve force of law enforcement officers to ‘help’ Belarus if necessary. According to him, Russian forces will not be used ‘until the extremist elements in Belarus, under the guise of political slogans, cross the border, start to simply rob people, start burning cars, houses, banks, try to seize administrative buildings and so on’.

As reported earlier, in Thursday’s address to the workers and the management of the Hrodna-Azot enterprise, Belarusian KGB chairman Ivan Tsertsel said that he did not rule out a ‘hot war’ in the spring of 2021.

Can dictators be put on trial? (ENG explainer)