MINSK (Dispatches) – Belarus is planning to purchase more than $1 billion worth of weapons from Russia, potential supplies of S-400 missile systems to the country are being discussed, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told reporters on Sunday, BelTA news agency reports.
“The western direction of Belarus is now fully covered by S-300 missile systems. But we now have the southern direction,” SB. Belarus Segodnya newspaper quotes Lukashenko as saying.
Lukashenko added that a lot of attention was paid to issues of defense and security at the recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin.
He also praised Russian and Belarusian troops for their readiness to jointly defend the two countries as he oversaw massive military drills that spooked some EU countries.
On Friday, Russia and Belarus launched military drills involving about 200,000 personnel, one of Moscow’s biggest exercises in recent years.
President Vladimir Putin is expected to inspect the drills on Monday, ahead of three-day parliamentary elections this week, a defense official told AFP.
Speaking at test range near the city of Baranovichi in western Belarus, Lukashenko said the two countries were ready to counter what he called “hybrid aggression” from the West.
“Your actions during the exercises vividly confirmed a high state of readiness of the armies of our countries and the Belarusian people to jointly secure their sovereignty and independence,” said Lukashenko, who was clad in military uniform.
He said that troops from Kazakhstan also took part in the drills.
On the eve of the exercise, Putin said the Russian-Belarusian drills were “not directed against anyone” and Lukashenko struck the same note on Sunday.
“We are not aiming our rockets at neighboring countries, we are getting ready to defend our land,” Lukashenko was quoted as saying by the semi-official Telegram channel of the Belarusian presidency.
“The Belarusian-Russian union does not need extra lands!”