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Russia Hands Belarus Anti-Aircraft Systems

Published: July 11, 2014 (Issue # 1819)



  • Russia has signed a contract to give Belarus four S-300 air defense systems free of charge.
    Photo: Vitaly V. Kuzmin / Wikicommons

The Russian Defense Ministry has signed a contract to give Belarus four S-300 air defense systems, which are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, free of charge, a top Russian military official told ITAR-Tass on Thursday.

The S-300 is one of the world's most sought after air defense systems. Its radar can hone in on aircraft, cruise missiles and even ballistic missiles, and destroy targets as far away as 150 kilometers, launching one missile every three seconds.

The S-300s will be handed over as soon as the Belarussian Defense Ministry signs the contact, said Konstantin Biryulin, deputy director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu first told reporters about the planned deal in October 2013, saying that both sides were looking to beef up their joint air defense system, which was created as part of a 2009 agreement between Moscow and Minsk.

Minsk is not stopping at the S-300s, however, having recently agreed to buy four Yak-130 combat training aircraft from Moscow, and an unspecified number of Tor-M2 air defense systems, Biryulin said.

Iran has been trying to buy S-300s from Russia for years, but to no avail.

An $800-million-purchase of five S-300s by Iran was halted in 2010 by then-President Dmitry Medvedev, who was worried that the deal would tarnish Russia's image at a time when the United Nations was imposing sanctions on Tehran to pressure it into abandoning its nuclear ambitions.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in “Downton Abbey” if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russia’s best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russia’s most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkin’s, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontov’s short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library System’s website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Club’s weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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