MOSCOW, October 16 (RIA Novosti)
Belarus hopes that Russia will help it modernize its military in order to protect Russia’s own Western borders, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday.
“Of course there’s not enough money for maintaining and upgrading military equipment. We’ve high hopes for Russia here,” Lukashenko said at a press conference.
“We won’t be able to protect ourselves alone, but this [Belarusian] army is a serious advantage for Russia,” Lukashenko said in the country's capital of Minsk.
Russia and Belarus are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization bloc. Both militaries also collaborate within the framework of the Union State, a loose confederation of the two countries.
Belarusian defense spending for 2012 stood at 1 percent of the state budget, or about $166 million. The country has 62,000 active military personnel.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.