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20 Mar 2017

Lukashenko: Belarus is not going to phase out military cooperation with Russia

MINSK, 20 March (BelTA) – Belarus is not going to phase out the military cooperation with Russia over the disagreements in other areas, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he received the report on the preparations for the Belarus-Russia joint strategic army exercise West 2017 on 20 March, BelTA has learned.

“I would like to emphasize for the mass media that in spite of the opinions of certain ‘experts’ no one is going to phase out the military cooperation with Russia because we have the disagreements in other areas. On the contrary, the army exercise is a demonstration of our consistency in the maintenance of security of the two brotherly nations,” the head of state said.

“Oil, gas, food and other issues in our relations are solvable. These are the issues of Belarus and Russia. However, it is inadmissible to be careless about the security and defense of our common borders,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

In his words, the international situation is such that the armed forces do their best to improve skills and raise the level of training of the regional Belarus-Russia taskforce for the protection of the western borders of the Union State. “The forthcoming army exercise is the best way to test the readiness of soldiers of the two countries for interaction. This is how we enhance our joint defense capacity and will do it in the future,” the President said.

Alexander Lukashenko recalled that many years ago Belarus and Russia agreed to hold such army exercises in one of the two countries by rotation. Now it is Belarus’ turn.

The President remarked that Belarus and Russia have created a strong group of armed forces in the western direction, and the Belarusian army makes up the basis of this group. “In case of a conflict or, God forbid, a war the Belarusian Armed Forces will use a certain battle scenario and will be immediately enforced by the corresponding army units from the Russian Federation,” the head of state said. “We have always believed that you need to keep powder dry in peacetime.”

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