«An unpleasant episode,» said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov looking back at the refusal by close neighbour Belarus to allow the building of a Russian military base in its territory.
Belgian news portal EurActiv reports that the Kremlin mounted a bid to set up the air base in Belarus in 2015 and hoped it would host Su-27 fighter jets, but the member of the Commonwealth of Independent Sates (CIS) and the Eurasian economic union refused.
Belarus has not recognised the annexation of Crimea.
Belarus said last year that it saw no need for a Russian air base, that such a deployment risked exacerbating regional tensions and that the situations in Ukraine and Syria were more deserving of attention.
«This really (was) an unpleasant episode,» Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said when asked about the snub in an interview with the Kommersant daily newspaper on Thursday.
«But content, not form is most important. And in terms of content, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said many times that … Russia is a 100% ally,» claimed Lavrov.
Belarus and Russia are currently holding talks to expand their integration, a process that has fueled concern about a possible quiet annexation by Moscow, EurActiv reports.