Belarus President Refutes 'Russian Military Base' ReportsWorld | October 7, 2015, Wednesday // 11:20| views
Opposition supporters raise their hands and shout slogans during an opposition rally against the deployment of Russian military base in Belarus in Minsk, Belarus, October 04, 2015. EPA/BGNES
Belarus President Aleksander Lukashenko has denied reports that his country might host a Russian military base.
Setting up an Air Force base in Belarus was never an issue between Lukashenko and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, BELTA agency quotes him as saying.
"I know nothing about this," the head of state expained while meeting workers from Minsk. He voiced his surprise at the move by "the Russians to throw this to the media. Maybe they are concerned we might be actually going westward?"
"We need aicraft, not bases today. We [have] wonderful pilots, we have a wonderful school for both military and airline pilots. And why should I need to create a base?"
Lukashenko stressed he needed certain kind of armament instead and he had spoken about it to both Putin and his predecessor Dmitry Medvedev.
His comments come days before presidential elections take place in Belarus on Sunday, October 11.
Opposition has recently cited Russian-language media reports about the country preparing to host an airbase of Russia, calling street protests which took place on October 4.
Lukashenko has been in power since 1994.
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