Belarus is now armed with Iskander ballistic missiles and protected by S-400 air defense systems, President Alexander Lukashenko announced on Monday, thanking his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, for delivering the new weapons as Moscow promised.
“Today, we have deployed the S-400 systems 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.
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 regarding economic, military, and energy cooperation. At their press appearance, the Russian president revealed that the two countries have already established an integrated air defense and warning system, of which S-400 batteries are a crucial element.
Pilots from Belarus will soon receive training in using “special weapons and special ammunition,” Putin revealed and Lukashenko confirmed.
“I must say that we prepared the planes. As it turned out, we had such planes since the Soviet times, we’ve tested them in the Russian Federation. Together with the Russians, we now train crews that can pilot planes that can carry these special payloads,” Lukashenko said.