Statements made by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko during his meeting with the command personnel of the Armed Forces

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1Belarus will pursue a wise and restrained policy. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made the statement in his speech before top-ranking officers of the Belarusian army on 19 February, BelTA has learned.

“If necessary, we should be able to protect the independence and sovereignty of our country but we will never get entangled in mindless confrontations with anyone. We will pursue a wise and restrained policy: we don’t need yours but we will not give away ours. It is the core of our policy. If we have to die for it, we will,” said the head of state.

“While some people used to say that Lukashenko whips up tensions, while some said five or seven years ago that we waste money on modernizing the weapons and improving our army, today particularly in view of Ukrainian events everyone understands that we have to feed our own soldiers and have to have a sufficient army in order to secure our own interests,” noted the President.

Alexander Lukashenko stated that in conditions of the complicated international situation and present economic difficulties the domestic political situation in Belarus remains stable. “Let me tell you frankly that our people treasure it. Notions like security and the government’s care for people are now more highly valued by the society. There are reasons to believe that accomplishments of the current government will be duly appreciated by the Belarusians,” noted the President.

At the same time, in his words, it is not the time to relax. “Nowadays nobody should think that everything is okay, that we are great peacemakers and mediators and someone will pay us for it and that we are going to enjoy peace and tranquility down the road. Don’t fool yourselves. I cannot stress it enough: nobody guarantees that we will live a calm life. We will do everything to live a calm life but we should have a combat-effective army,” stressed the head of state.

“Belarusians are peaceful people. It is no accident that the fact is stated in the first line of our national anthem. However, seeing the events going on in CIS and non-CIS states it is advisable to remember the timeworn truth about the need to keep powder dry,” noted the President.

Lukashenko: Belarus is open to a constructive dialogue with NATO

Belarus is open to a constructive dialogue with NATO on the basis of parity and transparency. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made the statement in his speech before top-ranking officers of the Belarusian army on 19 February, BelTA has learned.

Alexander Lukashenko stressed that even in such complicated external conditions Belarus will not abandon its peace-loving foreign policy and will continue safeguarding its interests.

“Certainly, we would like to continue relying on the power of brotherly Russia provided our interests with regard to Belarus’ sovereignty and independence are naturally taken into account,” said the President.

The head of state stressed that Belarus also considers cooperation within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization as a guarantee of the country’s security and stability on the Eurasian continent.

However, according to Alexander Lukashenko, it does not mean that Belarus will forfeit cooperation with other countries and military political organizations.

“As a sovereign state we are open to a constructive dialogue with NATO on the basis of parity and transparency. We have a lot of common matters to take care of. The joint work to take care of these matters fully meets Belarus’ interests,” noted the head of state.

Belarus president: Nobody needs weapons without professional soldiers to use them

Securing the leading role of the officer corps in the Belarusian army, enhancing its professional skills, improving managerial, legal, and pedagogical standards must be prioritized. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made the statement in his speech before top-ranking officers of the Belarusian army on 19 February, BelTA has learned.

“If we preserve the officer corps as a well-trained part of the army, we will have combat-effective armed forces. Nobody needs piles of weapons, even state-of-the-art ones, without true professional military. We can look at Ukraine for an example. If multiple-launch rocket systems are used over there and the strikes are based on guesswork, it means they don’t have officers or specialists, who know how to use the weapons,” noted the President.

The head of state reminded that decisive measures to improve manufacturing discipline and decision implementation had been taken in Belarus some time before. Belarus president decree No. 5 is designed to secure these goals. “All of that should be transferred into the army. Execution and iron discipline are number one matters for the army,” said the Belarusian leader.

The President stressed that legality and discipline, care for lives and health of the military must be observed in the army.

Alexander Lukashenko urged the Defense Ministry to pay close attention to the formation and preservation of high morale in the army. “It is necessary to continue bolstering discipline and rule of law in the army. Fortunately, it is no longer such a big problem. Direct participation in nurturing the feeling of responsibility for protecting the fatherland among our citizens is the key task of the entire officer corps. Personal example is required on the part of officers,” noted Alexander Lukashenko.

“The penetration of the power-wielding agencies by such dangerous phenomena as corruption, abuse of office and particularly dereliction of duty is a special reason for concern. These factors are the reason for the lengthy conflict in Ukraine. Crime control in the army and the state of military discipline raise some concerns. I closely monitor these matters. Discipline failures in the army will be punished severely,” stressed the head of state.

The President also pointed out that the 70th anniversary of the Soviet nation’s victory in the Great Patriotic War will be celebrated this year. Various celebrations, including the army parade on 9 May, will be timed to the anniversary. “I would like the event properly organized and the veterans honored at the level of army units. Not many veterans are left now. Use the event for the military patriotic education of young Belarusians. We don’t want to face the processes Ukraine faces when people dodge the draft and don’t want to protect their land,” added the Belarusian leader.

Belarusian army arsenal in for systemic renewal

Money will be allocated for the systemic renewal of the army arsenal. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made the statement in his speech before top-ranking officers of the Belarusian army on 19 February, BelTA has learned.

The head of state spoke at length about the provision of the army with weapons and military hardware. He said: “Our army is an heir of the once powerful and up-to-date Belarusian military district. Therefore, the bulk of the weapons are remnants of the Soviet time. We need a systemic renewal of the arsenal. We have decided on the volumes and the plans to modernize the armaments and military hardware”.

“Rearmament is a costly process. It is particularly true for the air force and air defense units. But, understanding their special importance, last year we sent a number of fighter jets and attack aircraft for repairs. We also decided to buy new combat and training aircraft Yak-130,” said the President.

In his words, taking into account the present conditions spending the allocated resources wisely should be the primary concern. “I’ve backed the expenses suggested today. But I told the government I want the spending of every ruble, euro and dollar verified. No corruption, lack of discipline, no excess expenditure can be tolerated. You know in what situation the world and we are now due to what is going on in Russia, on our main markets. We have never had an excessive supply of money and we surely don’t now,” stressed the Belarusian leader.

“The money saved by optimizing the combat composition and personnel numbers of the army should also be used only for rearming the troops. Spending it on homes [for the military] is an option as well as on projects, which are crucial for the development of the Armed Forces,” stressed Alexander Lukashenko.

The head of state stressed that it is necessary to support the existing combat potential of the Belarusian army as much as possible. “The durability of the military hardware is far from being exhausted except for some types of armaments,” said the President. “As far as the preservation of military hardware and weapons is concerned, we should stay up-to-date and more actively use the potential of our defense enterprises. You should get rid of the vehicles and assets that are past their service life in a businesslike manner, with top profits secured. Don’t rush to throw away your assets,” said Alexander Lukashenko.

Lukashenko to inspect battle training level in Armed Forces

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko will check the level of physical and battle training of the Armed Forces officers. The head of state made the statement as he met with the senior staff of the Armed Forces on 19 February, BelTA has learned.

“It is necessary to heighten the requirements to physical training of servicemen. Every officer should be physically fit. The commander’s personal example is of utmost importance in this matter,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

The President instructed the State Secretary of the Security Council to develop the program. “I would like to inspect our officers: how they run, jump, drive and use weapons. We should exam our officer corps this year, from the central staff to concrete subdivisions,” the head of state said.

Modernization of Belarusian army to be completed by 2020

The main events in the modernization of the Belarusian army will be completed by 2020, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with the command personnel of the Armed Forces on 19 February, BelTA has learned.

Alexander Lukashenko remarked that he supported all the proposals of the defense minister regarding the modernization of the Armed Forces, military hardware, and purchase of new weapons. “We will definitely find the funds that are requested by the Defense Ministry. If we fulfill our plans before 2020, we will have the efficient army by 2035-2040. We will not have to invest these sums of money in it like we do today,” the head of state said.

“We will complete the main events to upgrade our army by 2020, we will do our best to create the efficient army in accordance with present-day realities,” the President emphasized.

Belarusian army to get rid of excessive weapons, receive additional financing

up efforts to build up military potential, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with the senior staff of the Armed Forces on 19 February, BelTA has learned.

“Today the Defense Minister and the Chief of General Staff have announced the development priorities of the Armed Forces in the coming years. The main objective is to improve and gradually enhance the military potential. The development of the army will be facilitated through the retirement of the excessive stock of weapons and military hardware on the one hand, and additional budget financing on the other hand. We will modernize our equipment and optimize the personnel numbers and the combat strength of our army. A major part of these events, especially optimization efforts, have been fulfilled already. Now we have to polish these areas. On the whole, I have supported the proposals of the Defense Minister,” the head of state said.

Addressing the command personnel of the Armed Forces, the President pointed out their responsibility in the process of improving the mechanism of military security. “No country is absolutely safe from external and internal threats today. You know that they begin with the destabilization of the situation in the state. Many armed conflicts have similar development scenarios. Our eastern and western partners are revising their approaches to the use of army in peaceful and war time,” he said.

“We need to continue studying the options of armed response to modern threats. It is a serious task and we need to consider it in detail. It is essential to study these options and use them in practice. By looking into the history of fights and conflicts, including the Ukrainian conflict, we should see what kind of army we need and address these issues immediately. I expect that the Defense Ministry will submit concrete, well-considered proposals in the new version of the military doctrine,” the Belarusian leader stated.

Lukashenko satisfied with Belarus’ defense capacity

Enhancing the defense capacity of Belarus becomes particularly important in the current difficult situation, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said during his visit to the Defense Ministry on 19 February, BelTA has learned.

“We can note that the efforts of our Defense Ministry in this area deserve praise. This is evident from the analysis of the plan of action 2011-2014 to reinforce and develop the Belarusian army. The ministry has ensured a high level of morale, combat readiness, and mobilization preparedness of the military. As soon as we get rid of the red tape that is still there, everything will be almost perfect,” the head of state noted.

“Even our ill-wishers recognize that the Belarusian army remains one of the most efficient in the region of Eastern Europe and Asia. However, we should not rest on our laurels. The last-year inspection of the Armed Forces revealed that there are still some shortcomings. I have made a number of relevant decisions. Today we are working to eliminate these drawbacks and make sure similar things do not happen in the future. I cannot promise you an easy life in terms of snap inspections,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.

Alexander Lukashenko also noted that the Defense Ministry has developed an important state military planning document, Belarus’ Defense Plan. A number of events of national importance were held at the highest level. Many efforts were made to develop Belarusian military towns and improve the storage conditions of ammunition and military vehicles. “In a word, quite a lot has been done, and we have made certain achievements,” Alexander Lukashenko noted.

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