Relying on co-ordinated plan

Belarus-Russia military-technical co-operation based on contemporary defence approach
By Vladimir Khromov

Next year, Russia is to supply four S-300 air defence missile systems to Belarus, for use in protecting air space. The first standby link of combat fighters will arrive by the end of the year, as discussed by the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, and the Russian Defence Minister, Sergey Shoigu, who recently attended a joint session of our Defence Ministries, hosted in Minsk.

Unity of approach
It was noted at the meeting that Belarus-Russian interaction in the military sphere is of a strategic nature, playing a decisive role in guiding state security provision. Moreover, military-technical collaboration between our two states is developing dynamically, serving as an example to other ministries, noted Mr. Lukashenko. He explained, “Belarus will always adhere to its declared policy, without deviation. We’ll always be united in our actions, especially regarding systems of defence and security; we’ll continue on a single course.”

The joint Belarusian-Russian strategic ‘Zapad-2013’ (West-2013) army exercise, scheduled for this September, will be a serious test for our two states. Mr. Lukashenko underlines that our military forces have no intention of initiating aggression. He notes, “We’re trying to prepare them to defend our Fatherland and our common interests. We have enough land and don’t lay claim to anyone else’s. However, we won’t give ours away. If we’re going to train our armed forces, our security forces, to defend our common interests, then we need to arrange relevant events, including exercises. I don’t understand why the West is so concerned about our regular exercises. This isn’t the first. We’re just smoothing our co-operation. New people have joined us, so we need to check our long-standing system. This isn’t directed against the Poles or the Baltic States or NATO. Of course, they should all understand that if they behave badly towards us, we’ll respond in kind.”

Strategic allies
Exercises are prepared according to plan, checking readiness to react to contemporary challenges and to see what adjustments are needed to ensure the security of Belarus and Russia, as the General of the Army, Sergey Shoigu, informed the President. Mr. Shoigu spoke about the most promising areas of Belarusian-Russian military collaboration. Particularly, he mentioned the new Russian fighter plane air base in Belarus and the supply of four divisions of S-300 systems, to defend our air space and the borders of the Union State.

“Our Russian-Belarusian partnership is of a strategic character,” noted the Russian Defence Minister. “Today’s military situation requires us to unite efforts, co-ordinating our actions and sharing military-political and strategic tasks. Russia is working in close collaboration with its CSTO allies, viewing this organisation as an objective regional mechanism to counteract new challenges and threats to contemporary security. We rely on Belarus’ support, which remains a reliable strategic ally, boasting a professionally trained army.”

Western direction
Mr. Shoigu emphasised that Belarus and Russia are implementing a joint programme to establish a reliable and substantive regional air defence system, to protect the air space and borders of the Union State. Moreover, a major programme is being realised in the sphere of military-technical collaboration. He added, “We’ll continue discussing issues relating to reinforcing the defence capacity of our Belarusian colleagues and brothers.”

Belarus’ Defence Minister, Yury Zhadobin, tells us that the joint session of the Defence Ministries of our two states has brought approval for a draft project on mutual provision of geospatial information by the armed forces of Belarus and Russia. This will enable regional troops to survey and navigate accurately and promptly.

Liaisons are also agreed regarding the control and assessment of radiation, chemical and biological situations. An important element in strengthening Union State defence in the western direction is the use of a single regional air defence system for Belarus and Russia. According to Mr. Zhadobin, a list of systems has been approved and suggestions for who should command this group have been submitted to President Lukashenko.
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