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“Lukashenko has recently called the discussion about building a Russian air force base in Belarus “political rattle,” saying neither Belarus nor Russia needs it,” Portnykov says.
Meanwhile, it looks that the Russians are set on building the base.
Lukashenko’s statement shows that Russians have drawn a blank on their proposal.
Having Russian troops on its territory will be bad news for Minsk. Especially so after Lukashenko saw what Putin can be up to on the example of the Black Sea fleet’s role in Crimea.
Belarus FM Volodymyr Makej said recently that the base won’t reduce the military confrontation in the region. On the contrary, it will alienate the West regarding Minsk and Moscow. If Putin doesn’t seem to care, Belarus does. So, Moscow is likely to lose one of its key allies, Vitali Portnykov says.