Belarus Deploys New Russian-Made Weapons, Iskander Ballistic Missiles And S-400

Belarus Deploys New Russian-Made Weapons, Iskander Ballistic Missiles And S-400
Belarus Deploys New Russian-Made Weapons, Iskander Ballistic Missiles And S-400

Minsk - Belarus is now armed with Iskander ballistic missiles and protected by the S-400 air defense system. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced this on Monday (19/12/2022). He thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for delivering new weapons as promised by Moscow.

"Today, we have deployed the S-400 system and, most importantly, the Iskander system that you handed over to us, as you promised six months ago," Lukashenko told Putin at a joint press conference in Minsk.

President Vladimir Putin, as well as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, arrived in Belarus on Monday for a series of talks with their counterparts on economic, military and energy cooperation. At their press appearance, Putin revealed the two countries have built an integrated air defense and warning system, of which the S-400 battery is an important element.

"The Belarusian pilot will soon receive training in using special weapons and special ammunition," Putin said and Lukashenko confirmed. “I must say that we prepared the plane. As it turned out, we have had such an aircraft since Soviet times, we have already tested it in the Russian Federation. Together with Russia, we are now training crews who can pilot aircraft that can carry this special payload," said Lukashenko.

While nobody uses the word "nuclear," Putin has pointed out that NATO introduced the practice decades ago. This most likely refers to the US "nuclear sharing" policy, which has deployed bombs in several NATO countries that do not have atomic weapons of their own, but operate dual-capable aircraft.

Polish officials voiced a willingness to join the program in October, prompting Lukashenko to accuse Warsaw of threatening neighboring Belarus. The US State Department responded to Putin's visit to Minsk by accusing Belarus of "giving up its independence" to Russia. "Belarus is aiding and abetting Russia in its brutal war in Ukraine," State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

The United States and its allies have imposed sanctions on Belarus over the conflict in Ukraine. Asked if there was any particular "red line" that would lead the US to consider Belarus a party to the conflict, Price said, "The US will continue to closely monitor what Minsk is doing, and look for additional ways to contain the Lukashenko regime." He didn't mention any details.

Previously, Price had indicated the US had spent more than $20 billion in aid to Ukraine since Joe Biden was sworn in as president in January 2021, and would continue to funnel money, weapons and ammunition to Kiev. Moscow has repeatedly warned the West that arms shipments to Ukraine will only prolong the conflict. Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the West had de facto turned Ukraine into a "colony" and was using Ukraine "as cannon fodder" and a battering ram against Russia while supplying arms to Kiev.

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