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Russia to help ally Belarus create Iskander-type missile, President Alexander Lukashenko says

·2-min read
Russian Iskander-M missile launchers drive in Red Square in Moscow  (REUTERS)
Russian Iskander-M missile launchers drive in Red Square in Moscow (REUTERS)

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has revealed Moscow has agreed to help Minsk produce missiles similar to Russia’s Iskander which is currently being used in the war in Ukraine.

Mr Lukashenko told a meeting of defence officials that he had “full support” from Russian president Vladimir Putin to create the weapons.

“We are creating a new missile,” Mr Lukashenko was quoted saying by state news agency Belta. “A very effective missile similar to the Iskander model. There was full support.”

Mr Lukashenko said Mr Putin had instructed Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, to give Belarus the relevant support, according to reports.

The Iskander, a mobile ballistic missile system codenamed SS-26 Stone by Nato, replaced the Soviet Scud missile.

Its two guided missiles have a range of up to 500 km and can carry conventional or nuclear warheads.

Kyiv said last month the Kremlin had deployed the missile system some 40 miles from its border - within the range of major cities including Kharkiv and Poltava.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has provided support to Moscow (AP)
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has provided support to Moscow (AP)

The Belarusian leader is a longstanding ally of the Kremlin.

His regime receives financial and political support from the Russian president.

Belarusian troops have not been directly involved in the war in Ukraine – though Russian troops have used the country as a base.

Russia deployed forces to Belarusian territory under the pretext of military drills and then sent them rolling into Ukraine as part of the invasion that began on February 24.

Mr Lukashenko’s troops have recently been conducting snap drills that have sparked concern in Kyiv. Last week, Minsk denied that the drills represented a threat.

Defence Minister Viktor Khrenin on Tuesday said a second phase of spot troop checks would go ahead which he described as an adequate reaction to Nato exercises.

Earlier this month, Mr Lukashenko told the Associated Press that he was “doing everything” to stop the conflict in Ukraine but declined to criticise Mr Putin’s decision to invade.

“I am not immersed in this problem enough to say whether it goes according to plan, like the Russians say, or like I feel it,” he told the news agency at the Independence Palace in Minsk.

“I want to stress one more time, I feel like this operation has dragged on.”

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