Belarus does not need a Russian airbase, says Belarusian president

07/10/2015 10:36
Asia-Plus
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DUSHANBE, October 7, 2015, Asia-Plus -- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said yesterday Belarus did not need a Russian military base. 

“We don't need a base at the moment ... I hear shrieks from the opposition about the deployment of a Russian airbase.  I don't know anything about it,” Lukashenko was quoted as saying by official news agency BelTA.

There has been no talk of deploying a Russian airbase on Belarusian territory, Lukashenko said.

“We need certain armaments, which I publicly told [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and earlier [Russian Prime Minister Dmitry] Medvedev," Lukashenko said during a visit to the Minsk District.

He said Belarus needed planes, not bases at the moment, adding that he had not discussed it with anyone.

Meanwhile, Russian news agency TASS reports the Kremlin intends to clarify the arguments of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko regarding plans to deploy a Russian airbase in that country.

“I am not ready to comment (on Lukashenko’s statement) as of yet," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.

“This must be thoroughly checked, and only then we will be able to say something,” he added.

Some media outlets say the Belarusian president was speaking two days after around 400 Belarusians protested against the base in central Minsk.

According to Reuters, they chanted ‘the Russian base makes us a target’ and ‘the Russian base is occupation.’

Russian President Vladimir Putin in September reportedly agreed a deal for a military airbase on Belarusian territory and ordered defense and foreign ministry officials to start talks with Belarus.

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