[b]Belarusian army should be ready to protect sovereignty and territorial integrity[/b]A contemporary and efficient structure of national security has been created in our country and much has been already done to develop various combat systems and territorial defence. In September, the military will have to prove their combat effectiveness during the Belarusian-Russian Zapad-2013 joint exercise. It’s important to analyse the state of the army and existing problems while determining solutions. These issues were tackled at a session, involving the President, which discussed further areas of construction and development of the Armed Forces.
A contemporary and efficient structure of national security has been created in our country and much has been already done to develop various combat systems and territorial defence. In September, the military will have to prove their combat effectiveness during the Belarusian-Russian Zapad-2013 joint exercise. It’s important to analyse the state of the army and existing problems while determining solutions. These issues were tackled at a session, involving the President, which discussed further areas of construction and development of the Armed Forces.
Arc of instability
The major thesis is Our Armed Forces are designed to prevent warfare and should also be ready to defend the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the country in today’s world. “We need to make sure that no one dares speak to Belarus from a position of military power,” asserted Alexander Lukashenko.
All nations build their Armed Forces depending on the international situation, especially in the area where they have to live and work. According to the President, the military and political situation, especially in recent decades, has revealed dramatic changes in international relations. Their essence is that ‘global powers’ still attempt to shape the foreign and domestic policy of ‘non-allied’ countries. “Moreover, they employ a variety of instruments, including armed struggle,” added the Head of State.
The President believes that, fortunately, this has never happened in Belarus and is very unlikely to happen in future. However, western countries and NATO, including the USA, use other methods to pressurise Belarus.
Mr. Lukashenko underlined that the international situation has been turbulent recently and countries formerly treated as allies have become unwanted. “The situation is becoming absurd: they’ve deposed everything they could in the Arab arc, in north Africa and in the East. Now, they’re about to start a new round of overthrows — acting like peacekeepers: especially the European Union,” emphasised the Head of State.
Army should be able to provide an adequate response to new challenges and threats in the 21st century and this is the basis for determining principles of its financing. Mr. Lukashenko believes that items of military equipment and ammunition no longer needed should be sold, or disposed of safely, saying, “We certainly should dispose of these without breaking international commitments before such military items become outdated and as long as someone needs them; it must be done wisely.”
The President has already charged the Government with scrutinising army funding, taking into account his instructions and present-day reality. “The military should understand what we can do and what we cannot,” said Mr. Lukashenko. “At the same time, it’s necessary to clearly remember that we and our nation are not going to feed foreign soldiers.”
Planes are a priority
Close attention should be paid to additional targeted funding for top priority measures concerning the air force and the air defence. “Analysing recent conflicts and wars, we’ve determined that the air force and air defence are crucial today; being the core of our Armed Forces, they’ll be given top priority,” stressed Mr. Lukashenko.
The President charged the Ministry of Defence with the practical realisation of agreements reached with the Russian Federation regarding air force and air defence systems. The President also remarked that ‘the results of recent meetings with the Russian Minister of Defence and our arrangements with President of Russia Vladimir Putin’ should be taken into account.
According to the Press Service of the Belarusian leader, the Government was also charged to develop issues dealing with financial provision of the Armed Forces. The Head of State reminded that the Belarusian army used to number up to 200,000, with present numbers close to 100,000. We don’t need these numbers nowadays. It is not numbers that matter today, as far as the armed forces are concerned,” said Mr. Lukashenko. According to the President we should reach the levels set several years ago but in a calm manner, without disturbing the lives of those serving in the army. Optimisation should stay on the prescribed path,” said the Head of State.
Sites of special attention
Mr. Lukashenko is keen to see the terms of the state programme to develop military towns prolonged, where necessary. “We have enough of this ‘happiness’ — military towns and everything from the days of the Soviet Armed Forces,” noted the President. He believes that these sites should be ‘brought to order or transferred to those who will be responsible for them’.
The session also closely tackled social protection of the military, improvement of financial allowances and the construction of housing.
Minister of Defence Yuri Zhadobin reported on the completion of training for the Armed Forces of Belarus and of the Russian Federation, in readiness for the Zapad-2013 exercise, as well as our readiness to conduct CSTO Collective Rapid Response Forces training (as one of the exercise stages). The latter is to be held on Belarusian territory as part of Zapad-2013.
By Yevgeny Vasiliev