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05 October 2018, 18:06

Lukashenko: Self-reliant army is crucial for any country

IVATSEVICHI DISTRICT, 5 October (BelTA) – Independent production and upgrade of weapons and military hardware is of paramount importance for any country, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he spoke to the media on 5 October, BelTA has learned.

The head of state emphasized the importance of developing new types of Belarusian weapons and upgrading the existing military hardware by own efforts. “Independent production and upgrade is a number one priority for any country,” he said.

Alexander Lukashenko supported his point by the example of Russia. “No other issue is more important for the Russian president, although they inherited a substantial legacy from the Soviet Union. However, they bought a lot to stay on the cutting edge. Now the number one goal for Russia is to reduce weapons import to zero. For example, having closest relations with us, building the common Union State, they produce vehicles to transport nuclear missiles at KAMAZ [similar to what Belarus' MZKT manufactures],” the Belarusian leader said.

The Belarusian president informed that he had discussed this matter with Vladimir Putin and the Russian leader noted that Russia wants to become self-reliant in this matter. “He put it straight: ok, today Belarus has Lukashenko, the government and so on [Belarus is willing to promote cooperation with Russia], we buy from you, but in the future we should be absolutely self-reliant, which is particularly important as far as nuclear weapons are concerned,” Alexander Lukashenko shared the details of his conversation with the Russian president.

The head of state noted that the same task for set for Belarus, i.e. to independently produce certain types of weapons needed to defend the country. Among them are, first of all, fire arms that can be distributed among a great portion of population in a war time. “God forbid, but if there is a war, we will provide every family with weapons. And we will defend our territory. However, to do this, we should produce our own [arms],” the president noted.

However, civilians will be involved in the defense effort only as a last resort, Alexander Lukashenko said. “The army should be well trained, well-manned and well-armed,” he said.

Therefore, the president believes that Belarus does not need aircraft carriers, strategic bombers and military hardware like the ones used far beyond the country's border. “We need solely defense weapons that will be used only on our territory to inflict unacceptable damage on those who will want to fight with us. These are high-precision missiles with a range of up to 300-350 km. We have this all,” the president noted.

According to Alexander Lukashenko, drones are among the most relevant new products of the domestic defense industry. It is also important to be able to upgrade the existing military hardware. “A lot has been done in this regard; however, we still have a lot to do. You have seen these Kamikaze drones [special-purpose drones] that were not very precise, but an explosion took place nearby, which can be enough to destroy even armored vehicles. Therefore I see that over the past two years (actually I set a task to develop it less than two years ago), the defense industry has gone a long way,” the president said.

Alexander Lukashenko emphasized that machinery is not the most important thing, because even the most advanced machines should be operated by well-trained people. “They should be trained. The hardware is good. When we have time, we will hold these training sessions again. Kamikaze drones need good operators. However, it is not certain that we will use Kamikaze drones often,” the Belarusian leader noted.

According to the president, as far as UAVs are concerned, a decision was made to work together instead of setting up many centers. “We need to unite efforts and to develop the efficient drone that we need. Our ISR drones are good and we have learned to use them. The matter has been settled with developing more powerful drones that will be able to handle one tonne and more. After all, there is demand for that. We will produce them for domestic needs, for our army and for export,” the head of state said.

Alexander Lukashenko reemphasized that the most important thing is to teach people to use the equipment. “What matters most for me is that we are on the right track. This is the way we will be going: fire arms and their ammunition, drones, upgraded equipment, Cayman armored vehicle, Volat vehicle which we have designed and produced here in Belarus,” the president said.

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