Russia and Belarus Continue to Bolster Military Ties
On Oct. 25, Russia and Belarus continued the October trend of boosting military ties through a contract that finalized the transfer of a battery for a Tor-M2 air defense missile systems; Belarus was given this new armament as a party of the deal.
News of the finalization of the contract was conveyed to BelTa, Belarus’ largest news agency, by the Belarusian Defense Ministry. The signing of the Tor-M2 contract is preceded by the ratification of two other individual agreements that aim to boost greater air defense cooperation between Russia and Belarus, as well as the 2017 Zapad exercises, marking October as a distinctive month for Russian-Belarussian military cooperation.
The delivery of Tor-M2 air defense is not unprecedented. The newly signed contract falls under the purview of a 2009 accord that sought to increase the military relationship between Russia and Belarus. Since then, the parameters of the agreement have culminated in multiple deliveries of Tor-M2 batteries from Russia to Belarus. The first delivery was facilitated in 2011, followed by additional deliveries in 2012 and 2014. The 2009 agreement was specifically cited during the Belarusian Defense Ministry press conference announcing the recently signed Tor-M2 contract, demonstrating that the military relationship has proven durable.
Tor-M2 air defense missiles are a form of surface based anti-aircraft defense manufactured by a Russian state-owned Air and Space Defense Corporation, Almaz-Antey, that has been integrated into Belarusian air defense. The purpose of the Tor-M2 is to counteract enemy airpower and specifically, ten tracked targets and 48 processed targets. The surface-to-air missile system has a distinct reputation for being top of its class in terms of accuracy and range, providing a valuable boost to Belarusian air defense; increasing Belarus’ air power range to a level closer to the United States.
The ever-increasing development of tangible military cooperation between Russia and Belarus has provoked concern in the West, and may have been the driving force behind the recently planned observational flights conducted by Romanian and United States representatives.