Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko insists that his country is strong, but he also informed Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu (who visited Minsk on Wednesday) that he recently asked Vladimir Putin about new armaments that could “bolster” Minsk’s alliance with Moscow. “I told him that we’d have a look at what needs strengthening and where in terms of the Union State,” reports the state news agency BelTA:
“We’re capable of maintaining the situation not just in Belarus but also along our border perimeter. You can rest assured in our dependability when it comes to defending our common Fatherland, from Brest to Vladivostok.”
Update: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denies that Putin and Lukashenko discussed weapons when they met earlier this week in Sochi, but Peskov noted that the two presidents are in regular communication over the phone.
On September 16, Belarus hosted the start of joint military exercises with Russia. When meeting with Lukashenko in Minsk on Wednesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced that more joint exercises will be held in October 2020.
Last year, Lukashenko complained that Russia wasn’t doing enough to help Belarus with weapons supplies, such as Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets, arguing that the Belarusian military defends the Russian people but has to spend its own money to buy Russian warplanes.