The dictator called a priority strengthening the regional military forces in the western direction.
The ruler made this remark after a report on the concept of the strategic exercise of the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation named West 2013, which is scheduled for autumn in Belarus, BelaPAN news agency reports.
“For this reason, we develop the regional force of Belarus and Russia on the basis of the Belarusian army. The army potential should be kept at the level enough to repel any aggression,” Lukashenka thinks. “This is vital in our turbulent times. We see the growth of armed violence and slaughter in the world arena. We must keep our powder dry. I'd like to remind the simple truth – the army must learn how to fight (because it is the army) and be ready to defend our country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. In this case we mean the defence capacity of, if I may say so, the joint army of Belarus and Russia, the regional military force in the West. This is our area of responsibility.
The West 2013 military exercise raises concerns of Belarus's neighbours. Former Polish defence minister Romuald Szeremietiew said that the Russian-Belarusian army practised offensive actions and even exercised a plan of a nuclear attack on Warsaw during the previous military exercise, West 2009.
Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski also said the West 2013 exercise posed a direct threat to Poland.