No need for Russian air base in Belarus – Lukashenko
There is no need to establish a Russian military air base in Belarus, said Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko.
He made the relevant statement as he met with representatives of the general public, Belarusian and foreign mass media on 3 February, APA reported citing BelTA agency.
“People keep talking about the military base. I hear it in Russia, too. What difference will the ten aircraft Russia wanted to base in Bobruisk make?” said Alexander Lukashenko.
“I told Putin that the airfield needs to be restored. Half of the runway is gone now. I told them we could use 20 aircraft. We have excellent pilots, an excellent school, you know we can fly military aircraft because we have a common military force. But no. [Russian Defense Minister Sergei] Shoigu wanted to do it differently,” the president added.
In September 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin tasked the Russian Defense Ministry and the Russian Foreign Ministry with holding talks with Minsk to sign a draft agreement between the two countries on establishing a Russian air base in Belarus. Russian government officials earlier noted that the agreement would contribute to the joint protection of the Union State’s border in the airspace and the formation of the Russian-Belarusian regional air defense system.
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