In an interview with the newspaper Kommersant, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made a comment on Minsk’s reluctance to place a Russian military base in Belarus.
“It is an unpleasant episode indeed,” he said.
According to him, the situation is ‘not so bad’ when it comes to the bilateral relations, in particular, in the two countries’ coordinating their foreign policies.
“It is the content that matters, not form. Belarusian president Lukashenka has repeatedly said, including when answering a question on the base, that Belarus is a hundred-per-cent ally of Russia, and that the Belarusian army should be considered as forces that protect our common interests and our common territory,” the Russian minister added.
In September 2016, the Russian government presented Vladimir 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.
Later, however, Alyaksandr Lukashenka stated that Minsk and Moscow had never had any talk of deploying a Russian air base in the territory of Belarus.
“Our opposition has been wailing about the deployment of a Russian air base 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.