No Russian military base in Belarus, says President Lukashenko

NAROVLYA DISTRICT, Belarus (GDC) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko talked to reporters in Narovlya District, Gomel Oblast on 24 April and mentioned the development of manufacturing cooperation was one of the key items on the agenda of his recent negotiations with President of Russia Vladimir Putin in Moscow, BelTA has learned.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted: “We talked about concrete things. We should use manufacturing cooperation in order to revitalize many enterprises. It is what integration is all about: get down to earth and do what we extremely need today. Nobody will ever support us. The present reality testifies to that: Russia faces sanctions and so do we. It is only the beginning. They are going to choke us a lot.”

The advancement of integration and new programs of the Union State of Belarus and Russia were also discussed but it was done more pro forma at the beginning of the meeting. “It is right but too general. Vladimir Putin and I have turned to pressing issues this time: prices for hydrocarbon resources – natural gas, oil, manufacturing cooperation,” the Belarusian leader said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that there are good enterprises both in Russia and Belarus but the sides have always been tussling with each other. Besides, the two countries practice different approaches to privatization.

“Times have changed now and the circumstances made us really take a look at these things. We’ve agreed that we shouldn’t fight with each other. We should work together,” he stated.

For instance, the problem of production of microchips had been discussed for a long time. Specialized enterprises have been working since the Soviet times and these components are necessary for making a broad range of products starting with civilian ones and ending with military ones. “It is high-tech manufacturing. Nobody will give us these products. Due to the current situation we have to make them on our own. We may be lagging behind in some aspects but we have the competences and the people,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

In his words, Vladimir Putin mentioned readiness to jointly develop the relevant manufacturing facilities in Russia and Belarus. “We have to determine who will make what. Some things will be made in Belarus, other things in Zelenograd, and yet other things in Voronezh,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

The head of state noted that Russians had been able to make hypersonic weapons and had even beaten other countries in this regard. “Let’s focus on some things and make them. It is what manufacturing cooperation is all about: working together on what we have and making what we need today. It is the key thing we talked about,” he said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also responded to speculations of some pseudo-analysts and opposition members regarding the topic of his negotiations with the Russian president. He noted: “They said Lukashenko was cornered and had no way out! That Russia will absorb Belarus. It was never mentioned. Today they [opposition of the current government] would like us to follow this road. This is why we should act and should not make mistakes. If I had gone to sell or surrender Belarus like they claimed, it would have been a gift for them. We don’t need it. I’ve said so many times that I am the first president of our independent Belarus, you and I were lucky to build the first independent state. What Lukashenko can go against it and destroy or surrender it or let it get absorbed?! I am most of all interested in our independence.”

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The head of state noted that military bases had not been discussed during the talks. “We didn’t talk about any bases. Why would anyone set up a base in Belarus while a base in Smolensk is only a three-minute flight to Bobruisk for instance? Why would anyone waste huge money?” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

He stressed that Belarus and Russia have a totally different strategy within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization: “West is the responsibility area of the Belarusian army. If aggression is launched only against us, we have enough forces to resist it initially and allow Russia to deploy behind us. There are two or three armies over there, which will have to support the Belarusian army in this direction. It is our strategy. What military bases have to do with it?”

“And if there were bases… Reporters did well (I heard it yesterday or today): they say why do we care that someone’s bases will be in Belarus – Russian ones, Chinese ones, Japanese ones, or someone else’s? Whose bases are in Germany? American ones. And there are American bases in Poland and Romania. So, why do you pull the wool over our eyes saying we will lose independence and something else. You have already set up the bases, they are over there. They are simply afraid of our merging military efforts with the Russians. But we didn’t even talk about it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

He said he believes that even if Belarus and Russia started simply discussing the possibilities, it would be a gift for the opponents. “They would take to the streets and shout that Russia has captured Belarus. They say they fight for independence but they stay way the hell out there. They have shown what independence they fight for and where they want to lead us. Lukashenko did not come up with plans to surrender Belarus, they are already betraying the country. They fled the country back in the day, ” the president said.

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