Belarus President: No Plan To Host Russian Missiles, Defense Systems

MINSK, Belarus (AFP)--President Alexander Lukashenko of key Russian ally Belarus said Monday he didn't plan to host nuclear weapons or other defense systems in answer to Washington's expanded missile defenses in Europe.

"I won't take a hawkish position and frighten the West that we will establish air defense systems in Belarus or even nuclear weapons. No one is talking about that today," Lukashenko told a group of Russian journalists in remarks broadcast on Belarussian radio.

Lukashenko was responding to U.S. plans to set up missile interceptors in Poland, which borders Belarus to the west, as part of an expanded missile defense shield that also involves the Czech Republic.

Russia vehemently opposes the U.S. plans and has warned it could point its nuclear missiles at the U.S. facilities.

Lukashenko said Belarus could still respond in some way to the U.S. missile defense plans and voiced indignation at increased reconnaissance into Belarussian territory from Poland. He didn't specify what measures Belarus might be considering.

"The border is stuffed with monitoring and reconnaissance systems. Today NATO planes impudently monitor the border territory, flying over the territory of the union state," Lukashenko said.

"We have practically a single air defense system. We can react. This shouldn't be a secret....but we will react proportionally," Lukashenko said.



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