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12 Nov, 2008 13:12

Belarus set to buy Russian missiles

Russia’s western neighbour Belarus may purchase short-range Iskander missiles from Moscow in order to build up its own defence shield.

Russia’s state-owned arms selling company, Rosoboronexport, said “there are no limitations on arms supplies to Belarus”.

Director for Special Commissions at the firm, Nikolay Dimidyuk, told reporters: “we'll supply anything they want.”

“The priority for Belarus is to create a missile defence system,” he said.

The development raises the possibility that Iskanders, Russia’s flagship tactical missiles, might be placed in Belarus as well as in Russia's Kaliningrad region, which neighbours Poland. 

Dimidyuk praised Belarus’s cooperation in deloping optical sights for tanks and armoured personnel carriers.

Concerning the Iskanders, he did not rule out “a certain pause in supplies to foreign customers until the Russian army has received these systems.”

The decision to place the anti-missile system in Kaliningrad was made in retaliation for American plans for a shield in Eastern Europe.

Moscow and Washington will hold talks on the projected U.S. shield this December.

The statement comes after the visit of U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns to Moscow where he met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Burns said a constructive dialogue between Russia and the United States is very important.

It's was the first visit of a top-ranking U.S. official to Moscow since the armed Georgia-South Ossetia conflict.