Leader says Belarus expects big shipment of Russian weapons

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The authoritarian leader of Belarus says the country will soon receive a large batch of Russian weapons, including dozens of combat jets, helicopters and top-of-the-line air defense missile systems. President Alexander Lukashenko announced the expected acquisition as Russia and Belarus prepare to conduct joint war games starting next week that are set to involve about 200,000 troops. The announcement on Wednesday highlights Moscow’s growing support for Lukashenko. HIs election to a sixth term in August 2020 triggered months of protests and allegations of a rigged vote from the Belarusian opposition and the West. The United States and the European Union imposed sanctions on Belarus in response to a brutal crackdown on the protests.