On November 13, President Alexander Lukashenko approved a new plan specifying the cooperation of Belarusian-Russian armies from 2016.
According to the Belarusian head of state, the security issue should be considered in terms of relations in the post-Soviet space where three major integration associations such as the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Union, and the Union State of Belarus and Russia exist. It’s indispensable to take into consideration the situation in neighboring countries as well.
Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
Our today’s issue touches upon the relations in the context of the recent Belarusian-Russian integration association. I mean the politico-military component, in particular, a five-year plan on the development and application of the regional army group created within the Union State of Belarus and Russia in case of aggression against Belarus and Russia from the west. I want you to report on our interests and approaches in this plan, on our actions regarding the organization, development and application of the regional army group based on the Belarusian army. As you’ve discussed this issue with the Ministry of Defense of Russia, I’d like you to report what changes Russia wants to effect in the new plan and what sort of forces it is ready to offer in case of a conflict or hostilities against Belarus. Earlier the number of Russian troops was almost equivalent to the Belarusian army – a huge military group. If their troops are going to be expanded, then we need to know what kind of army group it will be. If it does for us, therefore we will take it into account while approving the new five-year plan.
A regional army group was created for the defense of the Union State of Belarus and Russia. But the international situation is changing and the regional army group should obtain new opportunities in accordance with it.
Today we should discuss relations in the post-Soviet space and the situation in the neighboring countries. I don’t want to characterize it as everybody knows about the situation in Ukraine. I don’t want to say that we are expecting a threat from Ukraine. No. We just have to take into account the Ukrainian situation. We cannot but take into consideration the flow of illegal migrants, weapons and so on. We are also aware of what is going on at Belarus' western borders where NATO forces are reinforcing, in particular, the air force and the ground force. We know about the expansion of the USA's antimissile defense system in the west. We know about certain plans concerning nuclear weapons as well. We will have to bear all these factors in mind.
The new plan was developed by the general staffs of both countries. The document, which will stay in effect for the next five-year term, was presented to the head of state by the Belarusian Defense Minister.
Andrei Ravkov, Defense Minister of Belarus:
We have taken into account all the changes within the five years and introduced them into the plan of the regional army group application. The new plan will come into force in January 2016.
The plan, which will be presented to the Supreme State Council of the Union State of Belarus and Russia, provides for some innovations. Basically, they pertain to the reinforcement of the Russian Armed Forces group.
Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin are to meet for the new plan’s approval till the end of 2015 in Moscow. By the way, soon Belarus will approve the draft of a new military doctrine.