Putin, Lukashenko Talk Fighter Jets

Putin, Lukashenko Talk Fighter Jets

Feb. 18, 2023, 7:51 a.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has seen one country after another cut off ties over the invasion of Ukraine. He has watched Western leaders impose sanctions on oil, gas, and military equipment. Now, once again, he has turned to Belarus for help.

Putin welcomed Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Friday to his residence outside Moscow. The two leaders have spoken repeatedly throughout the war.

Putin said, "We will discuss, as usual, the entire spectrum of our relations, including security issues and military cooperation."

Lukashenko has allowed in Russian troops to use his country for training exercises and as a launching pad for operations. Now, he is ready to provide more help by ramping up production of fighter jets.

Lukashenko said, "We're ready to produce them in Belarus, with a little technical assistance from Russia. We're deepening cooperation on it."

Russian troops in Ukraine are hoping the extra air power will help. They have faced months of setbacks on the battlefield.

Some analysts thought Lukashenko would be pressured into providing more direct support. However, he has laid down a red line, telling reporters on Thursday that his country would join the war only if it faces a direct attack.

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