Belarus eyes billion-dollar arms deal with Russia

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Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko says he plans to buy more than 1 billion dollars’ worth of Russian weapons. According to the Belarusian state news agency Belta, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lukashenko discussed the new equipment during their meeting last week.

One possible acquisition for the Belarusians would be the S-400 air defence system, Lukashenko said on Sunday during the visit to a military site not far from the town of Baranovichi in western Belarus.

Russia and Belarus are holding joint military exercises in both countries, involving around 200,000 soldiers.

Putin had received Lukashenko, who is often dubbed “Europe’s last dictator,” for talks in Moscow last Thursday.

Lukashenko’s state apparatus has come under increasing pressure from the West after last year’s presidential election, which was widely regarded as rigged, and after the brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrators.

Both the European Union and the United States have imposed sanctions.