Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko held a speech during the Russian-Belarusian joint military exercises Zapad-2021 where he stated that the first stage of the military program had been concluded.
“This is one of the most important endeavors for the preparation of our armed forces. It is being conducted while unchecked hybrid aggression from the West is being carried out,” he said at one of the military training grounds in Belarus. Lukashenko also declared that Belarus must prepare itself from the South as it has a 1,200-kilometer-long border with Ukraine.
The Belarusian leader announced a billion-dollar military purchase from Russia which was agreed during his recent talks with president Vladimir Putin in Russia.
This deal will include tens of aircraft and helicopters, as well as important anti-aircraft defense systems with the possibility of the installation of S-400 anti-missile systems.
He also declared that the Belarusian regime will not undertake any dialogue with the West until sanctions against Belarus were dropped. According to Lukashenko, the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, was to have asked Putin to exact pressure on Belarus to change the policy of the Belarusian government.
“You can’t take it seriously,” said the Belarusian leader.
The active phase of the joint Russian-Belarusian Zapad-2021 military exercises is underway between Sept. 10 and Sept. 16. The exercises are taking place on five training grounds in Belarus, nine in Russia and in the Baltic Sea. The Russian ministry of defense had previously announced that 200,000 soldiers, 80 planes and helicopters, 760 equipment units, including 290 tanks and 15 vessels ,will take part in the operation.
The exercises involve 12,800 troops who will take part in the Belarusian part of the exercises, including 2,500 Russian soldiers and 50 troops from Kazakhstan.
In Belarus, Zapad-2021 is taking place very close to the border with Poland. In Russia, the exercises are being held in the Russian Western Military District – the Kaliningrad oblast on the border with Poland, regions bordering with Belarus, the European center of the country including Moscow and the northeast with St. Petersburg.
Title image: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko delivers his speech as he attends the joint strategic exercise of the armed forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus Zapad-2021. (AP Images)