Lukashenko: Belarus, Russia to develop Joint Position on Self-Defense
Russia and Belarus discuss pressing matters related to bilateral military cooperation.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu arrived today in the Belarusian capital of Minsk to hold talks with his Belarusian counterpart Viktor Khrenin on pressing matters related to bilateral military cooperation. Shoigu and Khrenin signed a protocol to a 1997 bilateral agreement on the joint provision of regional security.
Later on Saturday, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said his country was ready to fulfill its obligations under the existing agreements with Russia.
"In short, Belarusians will do everything that they are obligated to do under the open and real agreement [with Russia]. Have no doubt about that," Belarusian state-run news agency Belta quoted Lukashenko as saying.
The Belarusian President praised the Russian and Belarusian troops' solidarity, saying that they were training like one army in the combat readiness exercises of a joint regional military group.
"I think the Belarusian defense minister has already briefed you about the situation in Belarus, about the training and combat coordination of Belarusian and Russian troops that are stationed in Belarus. I have to say that we took this seriously. Both our officers and your officers are training troops. Both Belarusian and Russian officers are being trained," Lukashenko said, pointing out that the troops will be able to repel any possible aggression.
The Belarusian President then stressed that everything was running in line with his agreement with the Russian president, mentioning a telephone conversation he had with Vladimir Putin on Friday.
"He called me yesterday. We discussed the situation around Belarus and Russia for a very long time. He said that you [Shoigu] will be here and we will continue this discussion. We will develop a common position on our further actions to protect our territorial integrity," Lukashenko said at a meeting.
On October 10, Putin and Lukashenko agreed on the deployment of a joint regional group of forces in light of recent developments in Ukraine.
It is worth noting that Russia and Belarus are members of the Union State, a supranational organization formed in the 1990s with the objective of integrating both nations' political, economic, and defense policies. Its military doctrine declares that any aggression against either member is aggression against both, which would call for "appropriate measures" to be taken "using all the forces and means" at the countries' disposal to neutralize the threat.