President Alyaksandr Lukashenka yesterday called for “synchronization of the military reforms” of Russia and Belarus. Addressing the graduating class of the national military academy, Lukashenka urged Russia to maintain the force levels needed for offsetting an enlarged NATO and for “defending the border of the Russia-Belarus Union.” Lukashenka described proposals for deep force cuts as a “great stupidity. We will never go that way.” Lamenting the “destruction of the bipolar system which used to ensure a stable power balance of power,” Lukashenka went on to ask, “Does anyone contend that Russia’s army is not our business? Of course it is our business too, since we have created a common defense space.” (Itar-Tass and other Russian agencies, July 7)
Lukashenka did not specify what he means by military sufficiency or by excessive cuts. The reduction of Belarusan forces has actually continued during his presidency. His remarks may signal an intent to begin strengthening Belarusan forces and to claim Russian funding for that purpose in the name of the two countries’ military union.
YELTSIN-NAZARBAEV MEETING RAISES MORE QUESTIONS THAN IT ANSWERS.