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CLARA MOSCHINI

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Planes, helicopters, missiles and armaments: Belarus will shop in Moscow

This was stated by President Lukashenko

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko mentioned national plans to acquire Russian-made weapons and hardware. According to information released by the head of State (and reported on the Belarusian government website), dozens of planes, helicopters and air defense systems will soon be acquired (including Lukashenko also hypothesized the new generation S-400 so "dear" to Turkey, designed to neutralize planes, Awacs aircraft, cruise missiles and medium-range ballistic missiles).

The president said: “I signed the order the day before yesterday (last Monday, Editor's note). We will soon have dozens of planes, dozens of helicopters and, above all, air defense systems. I don't mean how much money and what else it will cost us. We might even get the S-400s. We need it very much, I have already talked about it". Lukashenko had in fact said at the beginning of last August that Belarus was interested in purchasing such missile systems."In other words -the head of State added on Wednesday-, we will have advanced hardware. And we will update fleets and armaments".

But Belarusian purchases will probably not stop there: "if we see during 'Zapad 2021' that we need something more, then we will buy it from the Russian Federation and put it into service", added the highest Belarusian authority. "Zapad" is the most important joint Russian-Belarus military exercise, held every four years. The 2021 edition is now close: it will be held in Belarus for a week starting next September 10th. Maneuvers which, according to Viktor Gulevich, Chief of Staff and first Deputy Minister of Defense of Belarus, will bring 350 Russian assets to the country, including 140 tanks and 110 artillery and missile systems, and about thirty fighter airplanes, helicopters and other aircraft, compared to about 30 in the host country. Not only that: the military will also arrive very large; 2500 those sent from Moscow for a total of 12,800 units engaged in the territory of the Republic led by Lukashenko. We must then add the number of soldiers engaged in Russian territory, including 400 Belarusians.

According to Lukashenko himself "a single Army to fight together should a war start. If, God forbid, a conflict begins, the Belarusian Army will be the first to engage in the struggle, and the Russian Armed forces will quickly join together to form a joint defense".

To sum it up: Wednesday's announcement highlights Moscow's growing support for Lukashenko, whose election to a sixth term in August last year sparked months of protests following allegations of rigged elections. A situation that NATO does not like -or worries-.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency
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