MOSCOW, MINSK, (BM) – Russia wants to deploy S-400 air defense systems in Belarus. It is not a question of renting or “protection of fraternal territory” but a direct purchase from Minsk. This information comes from the Russian magazine National Defense and the Russian news agency Aviapro.
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According to the articles’ authors, Moscow wants Minsk to pay between $ 1.6 billion and $ 2 billion to buy the necessary batteries. The problem is that Belarus cannot provide these funds. The authors suggest that Moscow is ready to barter, despite the risks.
Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of the National Defense, writes that such conditions suggest that the Belarusian arms industry will work for free for years for the Russian Federation. If Russia and Belarus agree, Korotchenko reports, Minsk will supply Moscow with free armored vehicles, wheeled combat vehicles, and other weapons.
Korotchenko also says that such a swap without partial payment from Belarus is very difficult, even impossible. The problem is that Belarus has imposed dozens of sanctions, and it is not clear how many of the companies will continue to operate and for how long. Therefore, the author suggests that Russia may ask Minsk to pay part of the deal.
“Belarus has recently made accusations against Russia. It is tough and almost impossible for Vladimir Putin to sign a deal for 100% barter in such a situation. He will most likely ask for part of the amount paid in advance,” Korotchenko said in a comment.
Belarus wants the systems for free
The deployment of Russian S-400 systems on Belarus’s territory has been a topic in the region for the past 12 months. As early as February 2020, information about a similar scenario appeared in the Belarusian media.
However, many local experts believe that Belarus does not need to buy S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems. I said that a dialogue between Moscow and Minsk is possible, and it should achieve the following goal: deployment of Russian systems, not the purchase of the same missile systems.
According to the Belarusian newspaper Naviny, Moscow should be interested in the transfer of Russian S-400 to Belarus, as the deployment of such systems on Belarus’s territory will allow Russia to control any missile launch from the west, receiving an additional 45-50 minutes for repelling attacks.
Experts believe that Belarus’s small territory makes the purchase of the S-400 meaningless because, according to them, the S-300 is quite sufficient to repel attacks. Belarus has its own S-300 anti-aircraft missile system.
S-400s were already in Belarus, but were they tested?
In the last months of 2020, Russian S-400 and S-300 missile systems had spotted on the Russian-Belarusian border. Locals had videotaped the movement of a column of anti-aircraft missile systems near the Minsk International Airport area.
Even then, many military experts discussed several versions of the presence of S-400 missile systems. They considered three options. One was an exercise between the two countries, a test by the Belarusians of the S-400 missile system. The second was the protection of the Belarusian territorial integrity from a possible attack from the West.
The third possibility is the reason why Belarus wants to deploy Russian S-400 missile systems without buying them. Poland is waiting for its F-35, which gives Russia a chance to scan the American stealth fighters. On the other hand, Belarus’ proximity to Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia and their participation in NATO exercises is a new opportunity to scan Western technology.
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