October 22, 2015 –
Mariya Leyva, RBK –
Translated for Fort Russ by J. Arnoldski
“Russia and Belarus to create unified armed defense mechanism”
The head of the Ministry of Defense, Sergey Shoigu, stated that over the span of 2016-2018 Russia and Belarus intend to create a unified military organization for the defense of the Union State. According to him, the plan for joint actions has already been approved. Interfax reports that this was stated by Shoigu in summarizing the results of the Joint Collegium of the defense ministries of the two countries.
In the next two years, Russia and Belarus are planning to establish a unified military organization of the Union State.
“Plans for joint actions in 2016-2018, which are directed at forming a military organization of the Union State and the creation of a reliable mechanism for its armed defense have been approved,” Shoigu said.
According to him, the ministries of defense of Russia and Belarus discussed the joint defense of external borders, combat duty within the framework of a unified air force system, and they also considered further work on the integration of electronic warfare systems.
At the beginning of October, Russian and Belarusian presidents Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko discussed the question of creating Russian air bases in Belarus. On October 12, Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, told journalists that the discussion would be continued at the CIS summit, which was held in Kazakhstan last week.
The agreement on establishing a Russian air base in Belarus was signed by Putin on September 19 this year. On October 4, a rally was held against the creation of a Russian air base on the territory of the republic. Lukashenko then stated that they did not discuss the question of establishing an air-base, but on the day of Belarusian presidential elections, after which he became re-elected for a fifth term, he stated that he will discuss the issue of an air base with the president of Russia.
Plans for the creation of a Russian air base in Belarus, which was foreseen in the the agreement on strengthening the military components of the Union State was already discussed several years ago. It was initially reported that the air base would be located in the city of Lida, not far from the border with Poland and Lithuania, and that it would be in operation in 2013. In 2014, Colonal General Viktor Bondarev stated that the base would appear in 2016 in Bobruysk and that Russian SU-27 fighters will be posted there.
The treaty on establishing a union state of Russia and Belarus was signed on December 8, 1999 and entered into force on January 26, 2000. The Union State was created with the goal of integrating “the material and intellectual potentials of the two states,” but it in fact exists only on paper.
Russia and Belarus entered the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) military alliance together with Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. After spring of 2014, CSTO Secretary General Nikolay Bordyuzha expressed concern about the intelligence activity of NATO near the Belarusian border, and Russia sent six SU-24 fighters and three military transport aircraft to Belarus for “reconnaissance and protection of the Union State.”
At the CIS summit for member countries held on October 16, a program of cooperation for strengthening the external security of CIS borders for the period of 2016-2020 was adopted. Earlier, the deputy defense minister of Russia, Yuri Borisov, did not exclude that Russia would patrol the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.