Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday that Moscow had agreed to help Minsk produce missiles, including one similar to Russia’s Iskander, as it looks to beef up its military capabilities, the state-run Belta news agency reported.
Lukashenko told a meeting of defense officials that events in Ukraine had demonstrated the importance of having troops with modern, highly effective weapons and supplies, stressing also the importance of logistics.
Lukashenko said he won the support of Russian President Vladimir Putin at a recent meeting in Russia’s Far East for people involved in missile production in Russia to take a look at Belarus’ developments in that area.
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“We are creating a new missile,” Belta quoted Lukashenko as saying. “A very effective missile similar to the Iskander model. There was full support.”
Lukashenko said Putin had told Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, to give Belarus the relevant support, Belta reported.
Russia has used Iskander missiles during what it calls its “special operation” in Ukraine.
Belarus is a close ally of Russia, but Lukashenko said in March that the Belarusian armed forces were not taking part in Moscow’s operation and would not do so.
Belta also cited Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin as saying that a second phase of spot troop checks was starting in Belarus, which he described as an adequate reaction to NATO exercises.