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Lukashenko: No Russian airbase amid current motions with the West?

The authorities of Belarus no longer consider deployment of the Russian military air base in their territory as a military necessity, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko told experts and media in Minsk on February 3, EADaily’s correspondent responds.

“Russia just wanted to deploy ten jets at the airbase near Bobruisk. That airfield needs reconstruction, since part of the take-off runway has been disassembled. Ten jets! I say, give me those twenty jets (twenty!). We have brilliant pilots, we fight by military jets no worse, and we are a single force!” Lukashenko said.

“Now, let us think as military. What will that base give us? What do jets mean in present-day war against NATO? Ten minutes of fight: the jet takes off and there is no jet any longer. War is different now! It matters in Syria, since there is no air defense system. ISIL (Islamic State – a terrorist organization banned in Russia) has no air-defense system. In Belarus, you take off at a distance of 200km and we can see you!” Lukashenko said.

“In addition, does it make sense to have an air base on the frontline of the military actions? God forbid, if there is war, no jet will fly. There is no sense in deploying jets here. Let’s recall Putin’s words – time of delivery from Smolensk is four minutes. And he is right! From the military point of view, where is the good of that base? When we discussed this issue here, at the Independence Chamber, he told me – yes, you are right. But we do need that base! Why should we open any base here now, ahead of the presidential election, when our relations with the West are developing? It is not even a base – just ten jets. It is manifestation. Do we need it? No,” the Belarusian leader said.

According to Lukashenko, it is “not a military proposal.” “What is it? Think over it yourself!” he said.

As EADaily reported earlier, Alexander Lukashenko refused to deploy the air base of Russia’s Aerospace Force in the territory of Belarus, despite relevant arrangements with Moscow. On April 8, 2016, Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei said the issue is “closed.”

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