Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko that Moscow will supply Iskander-M nuclear capable missiles to Minsk in the coming months.
“As you and I have agreed upon, you were asking about this, we made a decision. In the coming months, we will supply Belarus with Iskander-M tactical missile systems which, as it is known, can use both ballistic and cruise missiles both in the standard and nuclear modifications,” TASS News Agency quoted Putin as saying to Lukashenko on Saturday during a televised meeting in St Petersburg.
He also proposed to instruct Russian and Belarusian Defence Ministers and Chiefs of Staff to work through all the details related to this issue.
“It’s a deal,” Putin said, to which the Belarusian leader replied: “I agree absolutely.”
The systems have a range of up to 500 km.
Putin also offered Lukashenko to upgrade, at Russian aircraft factories, SU-25 aircraft that are in service with the Belarusian army, and to begin training flight crews.
Iskander missiles have already been deployed in Kaliningrad, a small Russian Baltic exclave between NATO members Lithuania and Poland, the BBC reported.
During the meeting, the two Presidents also discussed Lithuania’s decision to prevent some goods being transported to and from Kaliningrad, a move that has angered Moscow, the BBC reported.
Lukashenko said Lithuania’s move was “a sort of declaration of war” and termed it “unacceptable”.
As the two Presidents held their meeting, Russian forces fired up to 50 missiles at targets across Ukraine on Saturday night, reports Ukrayinska Pravda.
Most of these missiles were fired by Russian aircraft from Belarus. Russian planes entered Belarusian airspace, approached the border with Ukraine and conducted airstrikes.
Ukraine’s Chief Intelligence Directorate believes that the Kremlin wants to use the missile strikes to draw Belarus into the war.