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Russia to help Belarus build missiles – Lukashenko

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday that his country will build a new missile system with Moscow’s help.

Speaking at a meeting with military officials, Lukashenko said he had been promised “full support” from Moscow in the development of a missile similar to those used in Russia’s Iskander short-range ballistic missile systems.

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He added that the matter was discussed last month during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos.

“In my presence, President [Putin] told Rogozin to provide immediate support, so we wouldn’t build it from scratch but instead could use the experience of Russian missile experts who had built the Iskander.”

Lukashenko said he had struck a deal with Moscow to purchase Iskander missiles, noting that Belarus would “keep” the Russian S-400 air defense missile system currently stationed in the country.

Iskander missiles are launched from mobile launchers and can strike targets at a range of up to 500km (310 miles). Russia has used the missiles in Syria and, most recently, during its military campaign in Ukraine.

The S-400 is one of the most advanced long-range air defense systems in the world, and is produced by Russian company Almaz-Antey. According to the specifications, it can hit targets at a range of up to 400km, depending on the type of missile.

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