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Russia Wants To Open an Air Base in Belarus

A Russian Su-27 SM fighter jet lands on the airfield of Belbek military airport outside Sevastopol, Crimea, November 26, 2014

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on September 8 that Russia’s intention to deploy a Russian air base in Belarus, which has been recently mentioned by the Kremlin, actually takes its origin in bilateral agreements in 2009.

«Let me remind you the history of these documents. It started in 2009, I was directly involved in it. At that time we prepared and signed documents relating to the joint protection of the borders of Belarus and Russia and a joint air defense system,» Medvedev was quoted as saying by Belapan.

Medvedev did not reveal when a relevant agreement on the air base may be signed, saying only that the timing should be «comfortable» for both Minsk and Moscow.

According to Stratfor.com, the base will be located in Babruysk, in eastern Belarus, and will station SU-27 fighter jets manned by Russian pilots.

Arsen Sivitski, head of the Belarusian Center for Strategic and Foreign Policy Research, told Radio Liberty that Moscow is pushing for an air base in Belarus in order to involve Minsk in a «new cold war» between Russia and the West. Simultaneously, Sivitski adds, Moscow wants to check Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s loyalty to the Kremlin policy.