MINSK: The Belarusian authorities are considering arming some of their Emergencies Ministry’s staff to brace for a potential conflict or hostilities, the state-run BelTA news agency reported on Monday, referring to a meeting chaired by the republic’s head of state on improving the ministry’s structure.
These measures are underway to enable the Emergencies Ministry’s staff to engage in military operations along with the republic’s army in the event of a conflict or hostilities, the news agency reported.
"This is the image of the Emergencies Ministry. The point is that all of the Emergencies Ministry’s staff want to be a power bloc, especially under the current minister. Power bloc staff. And this is how we consider them. But in order to become power bloc staff, they need to handle weapons skillfully," Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told the meeting.
"I have issued a resolution to determine that part of the Emergencies Ministry, which we will provide with weapons: those men and women who will carry firearms," he added.
The Belarusian president said he wanted to hear at the meeting "how far plans have got off the ground to ensure that the Emergencies Ministry turns into a genuine power structure and how many people will handle weapons no less skillfully than those in the army and militia."
"In a country like ours, which is compact and small, we can’t have a permanent Army of 200,000-300,000. We agreed that our Army’s strength is 65,000. This is what we agreed upon," the head of state pointed out.
"But if a conflict or, God forbid, a war breaks out, will our strong and reliable guys in the Emergencies Ministry stand aside? No, they will not only engage in fire-fighting," Lukashenko stressed.
The Belarusian Emergencies Ministry’s staff will be rescuers and they will come to their Motherland’s defense as their second function, the head of state insisted.
"And for this purpose, you have to be able to handle guns. Which weapons? Pistols, assault rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers, or, perhaps, we will also furnish them with some equipment. I believe that this will be the case. This will be a substantial force and help for our army, just in case," the Belarusian president said.