Minsk warns against US base in Poland, nixes Russian base

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, right, delivers his speech as Chairman of the Munich Security Conference Wolfgang Ischinger, left, looks on during the Munich Security Conference Core Group meeting in Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits, Pool)

MINSK, Belarus (AP) — The leader of Belarus has warned his nation would have to beef up its weapons arsenals if the United States sets up a military base in Poland.

Commenting Tuesday on Poland’s proposal to host a U.S. base, President Alexander Lukashenko said it would force Belarus to commission new missiles.

But he also reaffirmed that Belarus doesn’t need a Russian military base.

Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, has maintained close political, economic and military ties with Moscow. Belarus relies on cheap Russian oil and billions of dollars in loans to keep its Soviet-style economy afloat.

Russia has a military early warning radar and a navy communications facility in Belarus, but Lukashenko has resisted Kremlin pressure to host a Russian air base. Lukashenko insisted Tuesday the base was unnecessary.

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