Russia deploys fighter jets in Belarus
15:45, — society
A duty flight of the Russian Air Force's Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker fighter jets has been deployed in Baranavichy, Brest region.
The four warplanes made a landing at the airfield of the 61st Fighter Base on December 8. Russian Air Force maintenance personnel also arrived at the air base.
When reached by BelaPAN, the Belarusian defense ministry declined to comment on the warplanes’ deployment.
While visiting Minsk in late April, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that Russia planned to deploy a fighter regiment in Belarus by 2015. According to him, an “air force commandant’s office” will be established and the “first duty flight of combat fighters” will be deployed in Belarus before the end of 2013.
The Russian Air Force commander, Viktor Bondarev, said on June 26 that the Russian air base would be located in Lida, Hrodna region, and begin operation later in the year.
“The establishment of a Russian air base in Belarus is a result of the implementation of an interstate agreement on the strengthening of the military component of the Union State,” General Lieutenant Bondarev said. “As a Union State member, Russia must create and establish its air base there.”
The air base’s infrastructure will be created by Belarus and Russia will provide assistance, the general said. “The air base will become an important element of the first strategic defense echelon of the Union State, protecting Belarusian airspace," he noted, adding that there would be no need to build any facilities at the Lida airfield because “all necessary things are in place.”
Mr. Shoigu said in late October that the countries were finishing work on a draft agreement on the establishment of a Russian air base in the territory of Belarus.