Russia to set up airbase in Belarus

Russia has started to work on a plan to deploy “a Russian airbase with fighter jets and hopes to station an air regiment there in 2015”, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said when he met with Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk Tuesday.

“We will open an air commandant’s office and bring the first duty wing of fighters in 2013,” Shoigu added.

The minister also said that Moscow will ship four more batteries of S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Minsk in 2013 under an agreement with Belarus, reported Xinhua.

Currently the Russian and Belarussian military are preparing the joint military exercises, which are coded West-2013 and scheduled for September in Belarus.

“Hopefully, it will check our readiness for the joint response to modern challenges and show what else must be done to ensure security of our countries,” Shoigu said.

Lukashenko stressed the Belarussian-Russian West 2013 exercises are defensive in nature and do not target any third countries.

“I cannot understand why the West is so cautious about our upcoming exercises. This is not our first drill and it is not even a defense practice, we are simply adapting ourselves to each other and are checking the system that was adjusted a long time ago,” he said.

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