Lithuanian Defense Ministry: Russian airbase in Belarus to harm relations with NATO and EU

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The emergence of a Russian airbase in Belarus will worsen the relations of this country with Lithuania and will prevent the normalization of relations with the European Union and NATO. This was stated by Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas, Radio Liberty reports with reference to Interfax.

“There is no doubt that the emergence of a new Russian military base in the territory of Belarus is dangerous for our region. It will also prevent the intention of Belarus to normalize relations with the EU and NATO,” specified Olekas.

In such a way Lithuania's Defense Minister commented on Russian President Vladimir Putin's order for the Defence and Foreign Ministries to hold talks with Belarus on the establishment of an air base.

Olekas also noted that Minsk had not yet announced its position on the issue.

On 2 September, the Russian government decided to transfer the agreement on the airbase in Belarus to the Russian President. On 9 September, the document text was published. On 19 September, Vladimir Putin instructed the Russian Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry to hold talks with Minsk and sign the agreement on behalf of Russia.

The agreement says the project “had been previously worked out with Belarus.” The document does not indicate the air base location; however, the minimum term is defined - 15 years with automatic renewal every five years unless one of the parties notifies the other of its desire to terminate the agreement.

In June, 2015, Belarusian Defense Minister Andrey Ravkov said that the issue of the Russian air base location was a political one.

Text by TUT.BY

Pictures by TASS