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Thread: Russia Starts Delivering Missiles to Belarus

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    Default Russia Starts Delivering Missiles to Belarus

    http://mosnews.com/news/2006/04/22/belarusarms.shtml

    Russia Starts Delivering Missiles to Belarus

    Created: 22.04.2006 12:15 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 12:19 MSK

    MosNews

    Russia has began delivering advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Belarus, the Associated Press quoted the country’s defense minister as saying.

    Russia and Belarus signed an agreement last year on the delivery of the latest and most advanced version of Russia’s S-300SP surface-to-air missile system, capable of shooting down targets some 90 miles away.

    Belarusian Defense Minister Leonid Maltsev denied a report in the British defense journal Jane’s Intelligence Digest that Belarus agreed to transfer the S-300SP missiles to Iran to defend against any possible U.S. or Israeli air strikes designed to derail what many in the West allege are its efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

    Russia has already agreed to supply sophisticated Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran.

    “I have no intention of commenting on this nonsense,” Maltsev said. “Under the contract for the delivery of the S-300s from Russia, Belarus does not have the right to transfer these systems anywhere else.”

    Iranian Commerce Minister Masud Mir-Kazemi, who headed a trade delegation that traveled to Minsk, also denied that Tehran wanted to acquire the Russian S-300 missiles.

    “From the viewpoint of military technology, we are self-sufficient and there is no need for us to consider buying weapons abroad,” he said.

    The Iranian minister said he had not met with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, who on Friday was also in the Belarusian capital for talks with President Alexander Lukashenko.

    The missile shipment is the latest move expanding military ties between the two ex-Soviet republics. In 1996, the two nations signed a union agreement providing for close political, economic and military ties and their armed forces have held frequent joint drills.

    In February, Russian air force chief Gen. Vladimir Mikhailov said Russia planned to set up a permanent military air base in Belarus.

    Russia has watched warily as former Soviet bloc countries bordering Belarus — Poland, Latvia Lithuania — have joined NATO.

    Belarus, whose regime is increasingly isolated by the West, has developed close ties with Iran.


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    Default Re: Russia Starts Delivering Missiles to Belarus

    I had thought that this transfer of Russian missiles to Belarus was a way for them to "launder" these systems to Iran. But, after reading the following piece and the remarks of Russia's Deputy Air Force Commander, I'm not so sure. I am starting to think that Russia sees this as a way to extend their air defenses further westward than they were previously.

    Russia Deploys Advanced Anti-Missile Systems Near NATO's Eastern Borders
    Russia has begun deploying advanced air defence systems in Belarus near NATO's eastern borders in response to the continuing expansion of the Atlantic alliance to the east.

    The first batch of S-300PS mobile surface-to-air missiles arrived in Belarus over the weekend, the Russian Defence Ministry's newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda reported. Russia will supply a total of four S-300PS batteries consisting of 24 missile launchers.

    According to Russia's Deputy Air Force Commander Aytech Bizhev, the deployment will extend the effective range of Russia's western air defence by 150 km and the detection of air targets by 400 km. The S-300PS is an all-altitude air defence missile capable of shooting down aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles at a range of 90 km.

    Joint command planned

    Belarus is Russia's closest ally in the former Soviet Union.

    The two countries are planning to introduce a common currency and set up a joint defence command. Last month, Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko, branded by the U.S. as "Europe's last dictator," won a third presidential term in an election denounced by the West as neither free nor fair.

    Russia's Air Force Commander Vladimir Mikhailov described the deployment of S-300PS missiles as an "adequate response" to the admission of Poland and the former Soviet Baltic republics into NATO. Belarus shares borders with Poland, Luthuania and Latvia.

    Russia is also concerned with U.S. plans to set up military bases in the former Warsaw Pact countries of Bulgaria and Romania, and deploy anti-missile systems in Poland and other East European states.

    Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov warned that Moscow would view any deployment of NATO military forces in Poland and the Baltic countries as a violation of earlier agreements.

    "Such redeployment could run counter to NATO commitment [under the 1997 Russia-NATO pact] to exercise restraint in deploying conventional forces," he said in an interview this week.

    "In the event of a clear violation of the balance of forces near our borders, we reserve the lawful right to take all necessary measures to ensure the reliability of our national security."

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    Default Re: Russia Starts Delivering Missiles to Belarus

    Then again who knows? Maybe it is both expanding their air defenses westward and laundering some to Iran. That wouldn't surprise me…

    Belarus: Lukashenko Courts Tehran
    Jane’s Intelligence Digest probes the covert links between Minsk and Tehran.

    A recent JID probe has indicated that Belarus may be preparing to export sensitive Russian military technology to Iran. Since early 2005, Minsk has been negotiating with Moscow for the purchase of the latest and most advanced version of the S-300SP surface-to-air missile system. According to well-informed sources, a contract for an unspecified number of S-300SP missiles was signed between Minsk and the Kremlin during the summer of 2005, with delivery scheduled to take place either later that year or else in early 2006.

    Our investigations suggest that the real reason for Belarus' deal with the Kremlin may lie several thousand kilometres to the southwest. In January a high-level military and political delegation from Tehran paid a low-key visit to Minsk.

    According to well-informed JID sources, the main reason for the visit was to make arrangements for the future transfer of the S-300SP SAMs from Belarus in order to help the embattled Iranian regime bolster its defences against possible US or Israeli air strikes designed to de-rail its efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

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    Default Re: Russia Starts Delivering Missiles to Belarus

    First Train With S-300 Missile Systems’ Elements From Russia Arrived in Minsk
    On Friday at 8 a.m. the first train with S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems has arrived in Minsk from Russia, Belarusian defense minister Leonid Maltsev said.

    As said by him, “in 2006 the question of delivery would be closed, and systems will be deployed in Belarus”.

    The mobile multi-channel anti-aircraft missile system S-300 has been created by the concern “Almaz-Antei”. It is aimed for defense of military and industrial objects from massive attacks of aerial threats and for antiaircraft defense lines creation. It was developed as a long-range system to defend strategic targets against both conventional aircraft and cruise missiles.

    As we have informed, recently an influential analytical periodical Jane’s Defense Weekly has published an article about possible transit deliveries of Russian missiles to Iran via Belarus. Suspicions of the analysts of the journal focus on a recent contract: Belarus is buying Russian S-300 medium-range surface-to-air missile systems, which can soon get to Iran, the Radio Svaboda informs.

    The analysis of the magazine Jane's Defense Weekly is primarily based on the information of intelligence from reliable sources. They say that Belarus is probably getting ready for re-export of Russian military technologies to Iran.

    As the weekly informs, since the beginning of the year 2005, Belarus has been conducting intensive negotiations with Russia on purchase the last, most modern version of missile systems S-330 SP. According to reliable sources the American weekly refers to, a contract for delivery of a certain quantity of such complexes was signed last year, and its realization had been planned for the end of the last – beginning of this year.

    However, military analysts are convinced that Belarus does not require such complexes. The magazine reminds of January visit of a delegation of high-ranking Iranian politicians and military officers to Minsk. According to the sources of the magazine, during this visit deliveries of Russian-made S-330 SP missile systems were discussed. They are needed by Iran to defend from potential attacks of the USA and Israel.

    Besides, it is more advantageous for Russia to sell missile complexes to Iran not directly, but through isolated Belarusian regime, Jane’s Defense Weekly writes. Russia remains the main seller of nuclear technologies to Iran, and has lots of problems in negotiations with the West because of that. In any case, Belarus has a reputation of arms supplier to the countries against which international embargo is imposed.

    American analysts write that any suspicion in the risky missile contract of Minsk and Teheran will be closely examined by the West, and Russian president Vladimir Putin would experience a strong international influence with a demand to stop missile complexes deliveries to Belarus.

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    Default Re: Russia Starts Delivering Missiles to Belarus

    Russia Completes Delivery Of S-300 Air Defense Systems To Belarus
    MOSCOW. May 29 (Interfax-AVN) - Russia has completed the delivery of S-300 air defense systems to Belarus, the Russian Defense Ministry told Interfax on Monday. "All planned deliveries of S-300 to Belarus have been completed," a source said, adding that the systems will be part of a joint Russian- Belarussian air defense system in the west. For details, see the Interfax - Military News Agency newswire.

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    Default Re: Russia Starts Delivering Missiles to Belarus

    Russian Missiles On Polish Border
    The arrival of the missiles to the 115 air defense brigade have made this unit twice as powerful as it was before. The nearness of the missiles to the Polish border has given rise for concern since Poland’s troublesome eastern neighbour, Belarus, has received a very modern and powerful defense tool.

    Piotr Zochowski from the East European Studies center in Warsaw says the move was expected.

    In line with the declaration last year made by the Russian defence ministry on modernization of the Belarus armed forces the deployment of the missiles completes the arrangement. The issue which in Poland can be speculated on is whether this country is in possession of equally modern equipment.

    And according to reports Poland has no such powerful anti ballistic missiles. Thus the deployment of the S-300 on the Polish Belarus border is a challenge to Poland, says military expert Wojciech Luczak.

    The range of the missiles reaches far beyond the Polish capital and they are good enough to destroy almost everything flying over Poland. In declarations the Belarus armed forces officials say that it is purely a defense system but in case of any crisis it can destroy the AWAX planes flying over Poland as part of the NATO air defense system.

    Polish-Belarus relations have been chilly ever since the Belarus authorities accused this country of interfering into the internal affairs of Belarus and supporting the democratic opposition in that country. Additionally Poland’s EU and NATO membership have not been to the liking of Moscow. This recent appearance of the S-300 on the Belarus Polish border is a signal of the importance Russia and Belarus pay to the pact of joint air defense system says Piotr Zochowski.

    In a truly propaganda manner Belarus and Russia have underlined the significance of the pact and related it to the alleged increase of security threats coming from Poland, due to this country’s acceptance of the offer for the F-16 fighters and the possible deployment of the US anti missile defense system so called Son of Star wars on Polish territory and the territories of other Central European states.

    Wojciech Luczak compares the situation to the times when Cyprus and Greece planned to deploy anti ballistic missiles close to the Turkish border but underlines that the presence of the Russian S-300 close to the Polish border is not a threat rather a tough nut to crack for the Polish authorities.

    I think it is a part of Moscow’s game with Poland using the Belarus assets and geographical position. It is not a threat to Poland but a challenge to Polish decision makers especially defense minister Radoslaw Sikorski. I think they are trying to put minister Sikorski in an awkward position.

    The deployment of the S-300 wound up the deal on a joint Belarus Russian air defense system, and this year another deal is to be signed allowing free movement of planes between both states without any additional agreements or political decisions.

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