S-400s, Iskanders to Belarus will boost joint air defense: Russia
Russia's Deputy FM says the Belarusian armed forces received the latest S-400 air defense systems and short-range ballistic missile systems Iskander.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Galuzin, pointed out on Saturday that Russian S-400 air defense systems and Iskander missile systems supplied to Belarus will increase the effectiveness of joint air defense.
"In particular, the Belarusian armed forces received the latest Russian weapons – the S-400 air defense systems and short-range ballistic missile systems Iskander," Galuzin told Sputnik.
On Tuesday, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko confirmed that Minsk had put Russia-supplied air defense and missile systems on combat duty.
"This should improve the combat capability of the Belarusian army and the efficiency of the unified Russian-Belarusian air defense system," Galuzin considered.
Russia training Belarusian combat aircraft crews in response to NATO
The Russian diplomat indicated that Russia’s training of crews of Belarusian combat aircraft, which have been converted to use special ammunition, is a symmetrical response to NATO’s activities.
"During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s working visit to Minsk on December 19, a decision was made to provide training for the crews of combat aircraft converted for the possible use of ammunition with a special warhead," Galuzin said.
The Russian official specified that the United States and its NATO allies have been carrying out similar activities for decades.
"This particular case is also about a symmetrical response of Russia and Belarus to unfriendly steps of the alliance member states," he made clear.
Claims Russia-Belarus joint grouping could be used in Ukraine war are incorrect
Elsewhere, Galuzin told Sputnik that it is incorrect to say that the joint regional military grouping of Russia and Belarus could be involved in the course of the war in Ukraine.
According to the Russian diplomat, "The task of the joint Russian-Belarusian military grouping, if necessary, is to repel a potential enemy in the event of an invasion of the territory of the allied Belarus."
The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister said that raising the issue regarding the "possibility of deploying this grouping to the special military operation in Ukraine is incorrect."
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko and discussed security issues in the region and joint measures to tackle challenges.
Putin’s visit caused speculation in Western media outlets with respect to the issues discussed in Belarus and whether the latter is getting ready to join Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.
However, Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov refuted media reports alleging that Putin was going to Minsk to force Belarus to participate in the Ukraine war, describing the allegations as "totally stupid, groundless fabrications."