Belarus Table of Contents
The removal from Belarusian territory of both strategic nuclear arms and tens of thousands of Russian soldiers is a task as delicate and problematic as it is important if Belarus is to achieve its stated constitutional goal of neutrality.
In 1993 there were an estimated 40,000 troops of the Russian air force in Belarus comprising one air division with 130 combat aircraft. This consisted of one regiment with thirty Su-24 fighter-bombers, one heavy bomber division of four regiments with fifteen Tu-22M Backfire bombers and fifty Tu-22 medium-range bombers, and one regiment with twenty Tu-22M Backfire bombers and fifteen Tu-16 medium-range bombers.
Most of these troops were engaged in work related to the seventy-two strategic nuclear missiles based at Lida and Mazyr and were scheduled to leave Belarus in 1995, the anticipated deadline for transferring all nuclear weapons to Russia. This transfer depended greatly on housing being built for the troops in Russia and in midyear was viewed as unrealistic. An October 1994 announcement stated that two Russian nonnuclear military installations would remain in Belarus.
Despite the creation of a Belarusian army, Belarus had to contend with the fact that the bulk of its officer corps remained composed of ethnic Russians. However, the reduction of troops from 1993 to 1995 included a reduction in the number of officers, which meant fewer ethnic Russian generals.
Data as of June 1995