Putin and Lukashenko agree on supply of modern military equipment to Belarus

According to Interfax, at the talks in Moscow, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, whom the EU and the United States do not consider legally elected, and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to supply modern military equipment to Belarus. This was announced by the press secretary of Lukashenko, quoted by the state agency BelTA.
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President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko (Picture source: BelTA)

"During the conversation, much attention was paid to the development of the military-industrial complex and the defense of the Union State. In particular, we agreed on the supply of the most modern models of military equipment by Russia to the Republic of Belarus in the near future. In turn, Belarus will increase the supply of modern agricultural, passenger equipment and other machine-building products," the spokeswoman said.

According to her, Lukashenko and Putin also reached mutually beneficial agreements in the financial sector: "I would like to add that, as the President of Belarus said at the end of the talks, Russia has taken the most serious and unprecedented steps to support the economy of our country. In a follow-up to the presidents' agreements on Monday, government delegations will hold talks in Moscow and work out concrete decisions on all the issues discussed," the spokeswoman said.

Let us remind that Belarus was part of the Soviet Union and became an independent country in 1991, after the USSR collapsed. Since then, it has maintained close economic and political ties with Russia. The country borders three NATO member states that were once communist states: Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. While those countries and others that were part of the Soviet bloc have joined Western alliances NATO and the EU, Belarus has remained tightly under Moscow's influence, npr.org recalls.

Strategically, Belarus is important to the Russian military effort: it shares nearly 700 miles of border with Ukraine, and Kyiv is closer to Belarus than it is to Russia. Over the winter, more than 30,000 Russian troops gathered in Belarus under the guise of joint training exercises. Russia had claimed those forces would return home after the exercises ended in late February.

Instead, they invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. Since then, Russian forces coming from Belarus have approached the capital Kyiv along the west side of the Dnieper River and attacked Chernihiv, a smaller city to Kyiv's northeast. Some injured Russian soldiers have been evacuated to hospitals in Belarus, The Wall Street Journal reported. Russian missiles have also been launched from Belarus, the Pentagon said. But U.S. defense officials have repeatedly said they have seen no evidence that Belarusian troops have joined Putin's invasion.

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Belarussian T-72B3 Main Battle Tank (Picture source: Belarus MoD)