Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko wants to get Russian fighter jets for free despite that Belarus reportedly buys warplanes on credit.
Lukashenko claimed that his country performs part of the duty to defend Russia from the west and criticized Moscow for its unwillingness to co-finance the delivery of Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter aircraft to Belarus.
“Belarus recently bought Su-30SM aircraft from Russia with its own money. But we also perform the function of defending the Russian Federation, the Russian people, from that direction. So why not help us? Why not supply us with modern weapons?” Lukashenko said at a meeting with Belarusian Security Council State Secretary Stanislav Zas and Border Committee Chairman Anatoly Lappo, according to Belarusian state news agency BelTA.
“We know how to use them [weapons] at least as well as the Russians, but we play colossal money for this. I am not saying that we are not going to perform our functions. What I mean is: stop moaning in the media and now even at the government level that the Belarusians are like shackles,” Lukashenko said.
In Summer 2017, Belarus’ Defense Ministry said that Minsk would buy 12 Su-30SM fighter aircraft from Russia to update its Air Force’s fleet. The first two aircraft arrived in Belarus on November 13, 2019.
At the moment Russia is supplying military equipment to its partners at domestic rather than export prices. Nonetheless, the already significant cost reduction appeared to be for the leader of Belarus. According to Vedomosti newspaper’s sources, Lukashenko just wanted to get advanced jets for free.
Furthermore, if Russia makes an exception for Belarus, it will offend other Collective Security Treaty Organization partners. Such a move will set a precedent for price reviews for other countries, Vedomosti notes.
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