MINSK, 16 February (BelTA) – I am planning to meet with my Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on 17 February, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he spoke to foreign and Belarusian journalists in Minsk on 16 February, BelTA has learned.
“We will discuss security and defense issues. Most importantly, (I have already said that we are getting ready for a session of the Supreme State Council in April-May) we are set to discuss economic, military and political issues which are to be considered at the Supreme State Council. We want to see how the governments of Belarus and Russia are performing the tasks we have set. First of all, these are economic matters: energy resources, single market, import substitution, how they are financed and how they are implemented. It is a whole range of issues. Therefore, we are going to discuss all these issues. If we mention the issue of our joint group of forces in Belarus, of course, we will discuss it, too,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
Speaking about the regional group of forces, the president stressed that the Russian military stationed in Belarus have not plans of attacking Ukraine. They are undergoing combat training with Belarusian servicemen in order to be ready, if necessary, to repel aggression against Belarus together.
“If there is aggression against Belarus, President Putin and I have agreed that this division will go under my command and will fight in a joint group of forces of Belarus and Russia,” the head of state said.
“We have written everything down, so that the United States will not be able to reproach us for hiding anything. We have a clear understanding of how many tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, soldiers we have,” the president said. “We do not hide the fact that a large group of air force and air defense troops has been redeployed to Belarus. I have them at my airfields. It was my strictest demand: no matter how difficult it is in Ukraine, the joint group of forces must be in Belarus. At least temporarily. Military pilots, if they are deployed here, must train. Just as the Americans fly along our border in Poland, we fly along and across our country today with the Russians. We rely on Russian aerial reconnaissance, and this A-50 reconnaissance aircraft has been redeployed here as well. You have seen the United States flying along our border. They do not come close, they spy. Our group is flying, training, too. It would stay so in the future,” he said.
“That is why we are going to touch on this topic, too, of course. There are no closed topics. We must now respond to any move and word,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.