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21 February 2019, 14:59

Belarus to stay partners with Russia, improve relations with NATO

The Belarusian Defense Ministry. An archive photo
The Belarusian Defense Ministry. An archive photo

MINSK, 21 February (BelTA) – The main content of the adjusted concept for international military cooperation in 2019-2023 was revealed by Aide for International Military Cooperation to the Belarusian Defense Minister, Chief of the International Military Cooperation Department, Major-General Oleg Voinov at a briefing for military attachés, who are accredited with the Belarusian Defense Ministry, BelTA has learned.

In line with the adjusted concept Belarus will continue pursuing the strategic policy aimed at partnership with Russia while staying focused on maintaining a high level of relations with Collective Security Treaty Organization member states, China, and CIS member states. As a promising avenue of cooperation the document mentioned interaction with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Attention was also drawn to relations with Serbia. Matters concerning the formation of a good neighborly belt represent a separate block. The concept declares it is necessary to gradually improve relations with countries, which are members of NATO, the European Union, with other nations, which respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Belarusian state, with countries, which advance a trustful and equal dialogue.

The briefing in progress. Photo courtesy of the Belarusian Defense Ministry
The briefing in progress. Photo courtesy of the Belarusian Defense Ministry

During the briefing Oleg Voinov mentioned that Belarus continues honoring in full its international commitments concerning arms control, confidence-building measures, and regional security. For instance, in 2018 Belarus welcomed 27 control and verification delegations concerning units of the army and the military activities they pursue. As a result there are no complaints about the Belarusian army.

Military attachés from 28 countries were also made familiar with results of Belarusian army training exercises in the 2017-2018 academic year and the main events scheduled for the 2018-2019 academic year. It was noted that the development of the Belarusian army will prioritize command and control systems, reconnaissance, information security, camouflage, radio electronic warfare, air defense, missile and artillery troops as well as special operations forces. The optimization of the Belarusian army's composition is focused on increasing combat component numbers. The number of people the Belarusian army has has not changed in the last three years and stays close to 65,000 people. In 2018 the Belarusian army received 83 new weapon systems, military and special hardware units, including those developed by Belarusian companies. An information technology company was established as part of the Military Academy and an anti-mine service was established as part of the 2nd Engineer Brigade.

The briefing also mentioned that in 2019 Belarusian army units will be deployed for the Belarusian-Russian-Serbian exercise Slavonic Brotherhood 2019 in Serbia. Apart from that, Belarusian army units will take part in the CIS joint air defense system exercise Combat Commonwealth 2019, the Collective Security Treaty Organization exercises Interaction 2019 and Unbreakable Brotherhood 2019 in Tajikistan and Russia. Belarusian army units will also take part in the Union State tactical exercise Union Shield 2019, which is due in Russia in September-October. In turn, Belarus will host two contests of the International Army Games such as Sniper Frontier (33 countries have been invited) and Polar Star (recon units from 26 countries have been invited to participate).

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