Self-proclaimed president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said that he is ready to allow Russian troops in Belarus, if necessary, but sees no need for a Russian permanent military base.
He said this at a meeting on cooperation with Russia.
"There were no discussions in terms of the deployment of the Russian Armed Forces on a permanent basis, the creation of some bases. This was not even discussed. And we don't need that. Because, according to our concept of military security of the Union State, there is no need for this yet. There will be some wariness, we see the activity in NATO. In case of a military conflict, within 24 hours (our bases , airfields and other facilities have been identified), Russian units and troops will be deployed to Belarus," Lukashenko said at a meeting on cooperation with Russia.
At the same time, Lukashenko assured that this will be done only if the military situation escalates.
"Although these Western scoundrels have no right to reproach for the bases of Russia, China or anyone else. Why reproach us? You deploy and create bases in Poland. They don't see a log in their eyes, and they start hitting us in all directions: "Oh, Belarus is becoming a country where foreign troops are being deployed..." You look at yourself," Lukashenko said.
In 2017, Lukashenko said that "the Belarusian-Ukrainian border will never be the border of war", and later joked: "If we come from the north to you, I want some military to hear this in Ukraine, we will come on combine harvesters, tractors, trolleybuses and buses."
However, after Ukraine did not recognize Lukashenko's victory in the 2020 elections, relations with Belarus have significantly deteriorated. According to the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, Belarus is now considered as a possible springboard for Russia's invasion from the north.
"Now the situation in Belarus is very dangerous. These are our northern borders. And we understand that Russia and Belarus are currently considering and working on an important geopolitical and, probably, defense agreement. After that, there can be a really serious influence of Russia and serious coordination and control of the Belarusian armed forces. Then, we can see the risk from the other side as well," Zelensky said in a recent interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.