Visiting Russia’s Udmurt Republic, Belarusan President Alyaksandr Lukashenka announced a program to modernize the weaponry of the Belarusan army in response to NATO’s enlargement. In Udmurtia’s capital of Izhevsk, a major center of Russia’s military industry, Lukashenka inspected the Kupol plant, which is currently upgrading Belarusan Osa surface-to-air missiles. Kupol management expressed gratitude for the Belarusan contract which helped “revive production,” re-employ laid-off workers, and pay the debts of the Russian plant to its suppliers. There was no word about who financed the program–Belarus or Russia. Lukashenka hinted that other weapons systems in the Belarusan inventory are also being upgraded in Udmurtia (Itar-Tass, February 12).
GEORGIA’S SECESSIONIST REGIONS TOOK PART IN RUSSIAN REPUBLICS’ MEETING.