25 Aug 2021 20:11

Russia ready to consider possible request from Belarus for S-400 air defense systems - FSMTC head

KUBINKA, Moscow region. Aug 25 (Interfax) - Shipping S-400 air defense systems from Russia to Belarus has not yet been considered in practical terms, Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) head Dmitry Shugayev said in response to a question from Interfax.

"It hasn't yet been considered practically, but certainly, as concerns such a brotherly country as Belarus, we don't see reason to be lukewarm about it," Shugayev said at the Army 2021 international military-technical forum on Wednesday.

"If we receive a request from Belarus concerning the S-400 or the Pantsir-S1 system in line with the established procedure, it will be processed within a short period of time," he said.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on August 9 that Minsk was interested in buying S-400 systems from Russia and expected a positive decision on the matter from the Russian leadership.

"Such an issue [of purchasing S-400 systems] has been raised with the Russian president, on purchasing for a bargain price, using loans, because we don't have such money now. But we have a dialogue with him [the Russian president] on deliveries of the S-400 to Belarus," Lukashenko said.

"We have great interest in the S-400, and I am confident that we will receive those systems," he said.

Belarus could use the funds of the Russian state loan earlier issued for the construction of the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant to purchase the S-400 systems and other state-of-the-art weapons from Russia, Lukashenko said. "We saved decent money on the nuclear power plant. And that's what [Russian President Vladimir] Putin promised: here's the ten-billion-dollar loan for the NPP, and whatever you save can go to other projects," he said.

"So I want to use the money saved to build a nitrogen fertilizer plant, and we will process about 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas additionally. What's left, between $300 million and $500 million, is a decent amount, we'll use it to purchase military and technical equipment, including S-400 systems," Lukashenko said.

Belarusian Air Force and Air Defense Forces Commander Igor Golub said on January 14 that Belarus was planning to conclude a contract with Russia for S-400 and Pantsir-S air defense systems.

The S-400 Triumph is a long-range air defense system developed and manufactured by the Almaz-Antey Air and Space Defense Corporation. The Pantsir-S is a short-range anti-aircraft artillery and missile system of the Tula-based Shipunov Instrument Design Bureau of High-Precision Weapons.