16 Feb 2021 20:47

Mishustin asks Defense Ministry, Foreign Ministry to negotiate with Belarus on extending use of 2 Russian military facilities

MOSCOW. Feb 16 (Interfax) - Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has asked the Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry to hold negotiations with Minsk on extending the use of two Russian military facilities in Belarusian territory.

The documents were published on the official online database of legal information on Tuesday.

Russia has been using two military facilities in Belarus since 1995, one of them is the 43rd Vileika signal center of Russia's Navy and the other is the Volga radar station integrated with the Russian early warning system.

As reported earlier, Vileika, located near the city of the same name, has been operating since 1964, providing communication in the very low frequency band between the Russian Navy headquarters and nuclear submarines operating in the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and part of the Pacific Ocean. It also conducts reconnaissance and electronic warfare and supports the operations of other branches of the Russian Armed Forces.

As reported earlier, the Volga radar located near the towns of Baranovichi and Gantsevichi was built in the 1980s and currently serves as an element of Russia's early warning system. It is integrated into the Russian Space Forces structure and can detect ballistic missiles and space objects, identify them, track their trajectory, and calculate their launch and impact points. In addition to Western Europe, the station monitors NATO submarine patrol routes in the North Atlantic and the Norwegian Sea.

The Belarusian Defense Ministry said earlier that the agreements on the location of these military facilities were in effect until June 7, 2021.

Russia and Belarus signed an intergovernmental agreement on the completion of the construction, on the use, and on the maintenance of an early warning center near Baranovichi on January 6, 1995.

The draft protocol published on the official online database of legal information says that the effect of the agreement on the early warning facility shall be extended from the date of the expiration of its original term of validity for 25 years and then for new five-year periods unless either party notifies the other at least one year before the expiration of the current period of validity of its desire to terminate it.

The document assigns the Defense Ministry, jointly with the Foreign Ministry, the task of "conducting negotiations with the Belarusian side, and upon reaching agreement, sign the protocol on behalf of the Russian government, authorizing them to make amendments of a non-fundamental nature to the draft," the document signed by Mishustin says concerning the extension of the intergovernmental agreement on the Baranovichi early warning facility.

The other prime ministerial directive concerns the Vileika radio station.

The draft protocol published on Tuesday proposes extending the intergovernmental agreement on the use and maintenance of the signal center for the same period.