Minsk clings to National Missile Programme
By Andrei Parotnikau
Amid the political and economic turmoil, the Belarusian authorities remain committed to the National Missile Programme as the national security policy’s strategic priority task.
On September 29th, the current Belarusian leader authorised the Defense Ministry and affiliated military-industrial organizations to use the “Polessky” site for combat training and testing of domestically produced aircraft and missiles between December 1st and February 28th. Existing training and testing grounds only provide for combat launches and missile testing at a relatively short-range and long-range test range outside Belarus are costly.
In May 2020 Russia refused to provide its testing sites for testing new models of Belarusian-made missiles. Belarus has been considering landfills in China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Saudi Arabia as alternatives.
Despite recent statements about the inviolability of brotherly relations and alliance between Minsk and Moscow, there were no fundamental changes in the military sphere. Russia is not interested in improving Belarus’ military potential and will not assist in developing the Belarusian military-industrial complex. Meanwhile, the Belarusian leadership remains committed to producing missiles domestically, even amid very limited financial capabilities. Belarus attaches great importance to her missile development projects, and given the recent decision, there is a practical need for having the opportunity to test new weapons and missile systems.