MINSK, 19 December (BelTA) – Belarus and Russia have come to terms on training crews for Belarusian army aircraft, which have already been refitted to carry and possibly use air-launched ammunition with special warheads, BelTA learned from President of Russia Vladimir Putin after the Russian leader's negotiations with Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko in Minsk on 19 December.
Vladimir Putin said the leaders of Belarus and Russia had discussed the formation of the common defensive space and provision of security, including cooperation within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Belarus will preside over the organization as from 2023.
Vladimir Putin remarked that joint military plans are being made within the framework of the Union State of Belarus and Russia and the regional military taskforce is operational. At present Belarusian and Russian army units are going through combat shakedown training in Belarus' territory. A joint air defense system has been created and functions. According to the president, the sides agreed to continue jointly taking all the necessary measures to ensure proper security, agreed to pay priority attention to training the troops, to improving their combat readiness, agreed to continue the practice of regular joint military exercises and mutual shipments of weapons.
Vladimir Putin also said an agreement had been reached to continue the realization of Belarus' proposals on training crews for Belarusian Air Force aircraft, which had already been refitted for carrying air-launched ammunition with special warheads. In his words, this form of cooperation was not invented by Belarus or Russia. Other countries and blocs practice it, too.
Aleksandr Lukashenko confirmed the relevant agreements. In his words, the training of Air Force pilots is in progress.
The Belarusian head of state went on saying: “Taking into account the situation evolving along the border perimeter, we discussed some important details of cooperation in the sphere of military security. I thank you, Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] for our finding mutual understanding and support on all the matters and for our making the necessary decisions. I offer special thanks not only from me and from the military for fulfilling your promise. Today we've commissioned an S-400 [air defense missile] complex that you have handed over to Belarus. And most importantly the Iskander complex, which you've also handed over to us after promising it half a year ago.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko continued: “You've just touched upon a very sensitive matter (we are not its authors) concerning the training of our crews [for the aircraft] capable of carrying special weapons and special ammunition. I have to tell you that we've prepared the aircraft. It turned out we've had such aircraft since the Soviet times. We tested them in the Russian Federation. We are now working with Russians to train the crews able to fly these aircraft that carry special ammunition.”
The Belarusian leader concluded: “It is not a threat for someone. When I met with you in St Petersburg, in Moscow, in Sochi, I told you several times that we are greatly concerned about tensions along the border perimeter of the Union State. Primarily in the west. And we had to safeguard the Belarusian state. You made a decisive and very important step in support for Belarus. I am once again hugely grateful to you.”