MOSCOW, May 10 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday the possible establishment of a Russian airbase in Belarus should not be seen as a response to US missile defense plans in Europe.
“I see no reasons to worry about this issue,” Lavrov said at a press conference with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and his Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski in Warsaw.
The foreign minister said Russia and Belarus are a “unified military space,” adding: “No matter if there are Belarusian or Russian planes there, nothing will change… We are protecting our border [the border of the Union State of Russia and Belarus].”
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said last month Russia plans to base fighter jets at a military airbase in Belarus, with a first wing due to arrive there later this year. “We hope that an Air Force regiment will be here by 2015 to protect our borders,” he said.
Belarus borders NATO nations Poland, Latvia and Lithuania. NATO nations now fly combat air patrols from the Baltic states close to Russian airspace, an issue that has previously been viewed with concern in Moscow.