Alyaksandr Lukashenka has signed a presidential edict providing for Belarus’ accession to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)’s agreement on the establishment of a collective rapid response force, Viktar Huminski, chairman of the national security committee in the House of Representatives, told reporters on October 6.
Speaking at the news conference, Nina Mazay, head of the Committee on International Affairs and National Security in the Council of the Republic, noted that Belarus was ready to sign all documents required for the country’s participation in the establishment of the CSTO force.
The CSTO comprises Armenia, Belarus, Russia and four Central Asian nations: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The Collective Rapid Response Force (CRRF) is expected to be stationed in Russia and be under a single command. Personnel of Russia’s 98th Airborne Division and 31st Assault Landing Brigade may form the core of the Force. The CRRF would be used for repelling "military aggression," conducting operations to combat international terrorism and extremism, transnational organized crime and drug trafficking, dealing with the aftermath of natural and man-made disasters, and ensuring the CSTO’s efficient participation in the maintenance of international peace and security.
All CSTO member states except Belarus and Uzbekistan signed the agreement at a summit held in Moscow on June 14. Mr. Lukashenka boycotted the meeting in protest against Russia’s decision to ban the import of nearly all dairy products from Belarus earlier that month.