Lukashenko asks Russia for more money and weapons

The Belarusian authorities expect to receive a new package of financial aid  from Russia, as well as modern Russian weapons.

On Thursday, President Alexander Lukashenko approved updated guidelines for the regional military contingent - a nearly 300,000-strong army, which includes troops of the Belarusian Armed Forces and the entire Western Military District of the Russian Federation. “It has become necessary to rewrite the document that regulates the actions of the contingent established under the treaty on the Union State back in 1999,  given the situation on the western borders and in the world in general," Lukashenka said at a meeting with Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin and Chief of the General Staff Alexander Wolfovich.

"The situation is escalating," Lukashenko said. "No matter how much we say here, no matter how much the leadership of the United States, and now the leadership of NATO, are trying to put us to sleep. They say, we are making excuses. No, we just train like that. But we are military people. Even if we train, it means something. That's why we can't be complacent. Even if we have a really powerful army behind us, as they say the second army in the world is very powerful. But we cannot be complacent with all of that."

The new guidelines clarify "the order of engagement and areas of use of Russian military to perform joint tasks," Wolfovich said after the meeting with Lukashenko.

The document also envisages supply of Russian weapons. "In five years, the structure, equipment and weapons have changed, and new models have appeared both in the Russian Federation and in the Republic of Belarus. We do not stand still, we buy new items. They have more powerful combat capabilities," TASS quoted the head of the General Staff as saying.

"We will have to solve the problems together, together with the Russian brothers, so we should have the same weapons as them," Wolfovich said.

In addition to weapons, Belarus is also counting on financial assistance. Minsk expects to receive additional loans from the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB), a structure established in 2006 with 90% of Russian money as its capital.

"For us, the EDB is very important now, given that the new sanctions lists are being prepared, there are problems with external financing. Of course, we are very much counting on your help," Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Nikolay Snopkov said on Wednesday.

He expressed gratitude to the bank for continuing to lend to Belarus at a time when European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) suspended their projects in the country.

Belarus has already received more than $10 billion from EDB , and in August another 500 million amid ongoing protests in the country.

This loan was the first tranche of $1.5 billion package promised to Lukashenko. Minsk is expected to receive the next two tranches next year as interstate loans from Russia.

  Lukashenko, Belarus, Russia