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Urgent improvements needed to Russia, Belarus defense capabilities: Russian defense chief

07:38 24 June 2022 Author :  

Current circumstances dictate the need for Russia and Belarus to take "urgent joint measures" to strengthen their defense capabilities and increase the combat readiness of regional troops, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Thursday.

Shoigu also emphasized the importance of a unified regional air defense system in a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Viktor Khrenin in Moscow.

He underlined that Russia is ready to provide "any support to Belarusian friends" regarding the matter.

"The Republic of Belarus is our most important strategic partner, closest friend and ally. Today, bilateral military cooperation is developing in the face of unprecedented pressure from the West, an undeclared war against our countries," said Shoigu.

He said Russia appreciates the determination of Belarus to resist the "confrontational course" of the US and its allies, as well as its readiness to jointly form a single defense space within the borders of the "union state."

Belarus Defense Ministry alleged earlier this month increased pressure from the West concerning Russia and Belarus.

In February, Belarus and Russia extended joint military drills of their armed forces amid Ukraine tensions.

More than 4,600 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the war began on Feb. 24.

Around 15 million people have been forced to flee their homes, with more than 8 million moving to neighboring countries, according to UN data.​​​​​​​/agencies

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