MINSK, 14 September (BelTA) – Belarusian-Russian cooperation in military sphere is inviolable. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement during negotiations with President of Russia Vladimir Putin in Sochi on 14 September, BelTA has learned.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted: “As for defense, you and I are military men and we've always followed the same tactics. I may have put it rather bluntly in front of Russian reporters the other day: we can quarrel and argue about any matters but we've never argued and have never been in doubt about defense and security. We don't have to ask anyone whether we should organize our army exercises or not. We've been organizing them and will continue doing so. If someone wants to join in, they are free to do it. If someone doesn't want, they are free not to do it. I think, Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] that you will order the Russian defense minister and our minister has already been ordered: we will make plans for army exercises for years ahead and we are going to specify them. We should stage small exercises and big ones together.”
This is why Aleksandr Lukashenko drew attention to one of the lessons arising from the current situation in Belarus and around the country: “Why do they have to make noise with their tank tracks near borders of the Union State and Belarus [in the course of military exercises of Western countries and NATO]? A complicated period. You should exercise patience then.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko spoke about a concrete action – the redeployment of an American tank battalion to the exercise area Pabrade in Lithuania 15km away from the Belarusian border. “Why do they have to do it? This is why we shouldn't commit errors that happened during the Great Patriotic War when everyone was trying to calm things down, trying to prevent provocations, saying that no war will happen and the rest… We experienced a failure back then. Soviet army units didn't even manage to group up and resist the invaders, who promptly crossed Belarus and reached even Smolensk. Only there did we manage to resist the invaders somehow,” the president said.
“This is why I believe we should in no way be mindful of what they may say to us. They don't take into account our opinions. They fail to see our concern. They stage military exercises whenever they want. This is why we should prepare our armies without increasing tensions around us if you support the idea so that we could resist it, god forbid,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
Vladimir Putin responded by saying: “As for the military component, you are right, we have a plan. It will be implemented. Various events are scheduled to take place in Belarus and in Russia virtually every month over the course of one year. We are going to do everything just the way we've planned them.”
In his opening remarks at the beginning of the negotiations Vladimir Putin also stated Belarus and Russia should continue interaction in the area of defense. “I am referring primarily to defense enterprises. We maintain rather tight manufacturing cooperation in this regard and in rather sensitive areas at that,” he noted.
“And in military matters, too. By the way, an army exercise, which was planned last year, will begin today and will last for several days. It is quite a routine matter of troops training for military people. Let me repeat it once again to prevent any speculations: it is an event that was planned and even announced back in 2019. After the joint exercise is over, the Russian army units will return to their permanent stations,” the Russian president added.