Russia, Belarus sign air defence treaty in east Europe

Russia and Belarus signed an air defence treaty, boosting military ties between the two opponents of U.S. plans for a missile shield in east Europe.

Russia, Belarus sign air defence treaty in east Europe

Russia and Belarus signed an air defence treaty on Tuesday, boosting military ties between the two opponents of U.S. plans for a missile shield in east Europe.

"Signing an agreement to create a joint regional air defence system will be a notable event in strengthening our ties," Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told his Belarussian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko at the start of their summit in the Kremlin.

"We had been long approaching this and now the process is finalised. This will considerably strengthen the defence capability of both Russia and Belarus."

No details of the pact were immediately available.

Neighbours Russia and Belarus had long agreed to create "a union state" and Minsk has joined Moscow in opposing the U.S. missile shield, which Washington plans to deploy in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Russian defence officials have in the past discussed the possibility of stationing anti-missile systems in Belarus to counter the U.S. shield threathening Europe.

Medvedev said in November that Moscow would deploy Iskander tactical missiles in its westernmost Kaliningrad enclave if the United States goes ahead with its shield plans.

The Kremlin has since softened its stance and a local news agency quoted the Russian military as saying last week it had halted plans to deploy the Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad.

Reuters
Last Mod: 04 Şubat 2009, 14:07
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