MINSK, 19 November (BelTA) – Belarus would like to deploy Russian missile systems Iskander. The country does not need to set up Russian military bases because the two countries are allies and have worked out a different interaction procedure as part of the Belarusian-Russian military group. Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin made the statements in an interview with the TV channel Al Jazeera, BelTA has learned.
The official said: “Iskander is a very good missile complex. The defense ministries have been working [on the possible delivery of these missile systems to Belarus] upon instructions of the head of state. We see that the Russian Federation has virtually finished deploying all these missile systems it needs and we would like to get some of them, too. Russia and Belarus have a regional military group, which includes these missile systems. If necessary, they will be transported into our territory and will be employed for missions.”
Viktor Khrenin said: “We will certainly continue working on Iskander missiles together with our Russian colleagues. I think we will deploy some soon.”
The official also mentioned that Belarus designs and makes missile systems of its own, too. Those include the multiple-launch rocket system Polonez with the firing range of up to 300km. These systems have already entered service in the Belarusian army. Belarusian troops fired live Polonez missiles in the army training area Sary-Shagan in Kazakhstan in 2021. “One missile missed the target by 2 meters, another one by 4 meters. These are very good results,” the defense minister noted.
The defense minister was also asked whether the possible establishment of Russian military bases in Belarus had been revised due to NATO's increased activity near the borders of the Union State of Belarus and Russia.
“I can quote our president in response: why would we need Russian bases here? We have the Union State of Belarus and Russia. We have the regional military group, which includes the entire Belarusian army and some units of the Russian army. According to our estimates, they are sufficient. If necessary, Russia is very close, all of them will be in our territory. We don't have to deploy additional air force bases or some other ones. There is no need to.”
Viktor Khrenin stated that foreign military bases had been deployed in some of the countries Belarus borders with. But there is no need for Belarus to do the same. “We've worked out a different mechanism with our strategic ally. We train our armed forces within the framework of combat training centers where we arrange joint combat duties. We study new hardware and experience. We share our experience, too. That's it. This is why there will be no [Russian] bases here. But if necessary, the entire Russian army will be here as the president said,” the Belarusian defense minister stressed.