Belarus said it would purchase more than $1 billion worth of Russian weaponry, including the potential supplies of S-400 missile systems, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced.
Lukashenko met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday for extended talks that centered primarily on military cooperation between the two nations.
“I am very grateful to the Russian leadership, military and the Russian defense industry for agreeing on a whole list of weapons that will be here by 2025. It is, indeed, about a dozen planes … some of them have already arrived. These are several dozen helicopters, TOR-M2…I will not name the total amount, although this is not a big secret, it is more than $1 billion,” Lukashenko said, as cited by the BelTA news agency on Monday.
“We are in talks and planning the supplies of the S-400 [systems],” Lukashenko said. “The western direction of Belarus is now fully covered by S-300 missile systems. But we now have the southern direction.”
The delivery has been interpreted as a further sign of Moscow’s unwavering support for Minsk.
During the meetings in Moscow, Lukashenko and Putin also discussed other issues of interest, including 28 so-called Union State programs designed to harmonize Russian and Belarusian laws in numerous sectors of the economy.
Thread: The Zapad 2021 operational-strategic exercise has begun in Russia and Belarus with the opening ceremony at the Mulino training area in Nizhny Novgorod (one of the primary ranges for the exercise). The last Zapad exercise occurred in 2017.https://t.co/hSupGpGwx5 pic.twitter.com/fEflohpeHo
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) September 9, 2021
The programs are part of the Union State of Russia and Belarus, an organization formed in December 1999 aimed at boosting economic integration between the two allies.
The countries are simultaneously conducting a series of week-long joint war games that began Thursday. The Zapad-2021 maneuvers are taking place in both Russia and Belarus, involving as many as 200,000 troops, 80 aircraft, 760 armored vehicles and 15 warships.
The show of military force comes amid heightened tensions between the West and Belarus, which came to a head since the presidential election in August last year, which Lukashenko won.
Opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya rejected the official results, claimeing voter fraud, without providing any evidence. Western governments came out in her support, repeating the allegations of vote-rigging, similarly without proof.
The U.S. and the European Union (EU) have already imposed a number of sanctions on Belarusian companies and officials over the voter fraud allegations, which Belarus rejects as baseless.