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West 2017 military drills start in Belarus
11:31, 14 September 2017
West 2017 military drills start in Belarus

Military maneuvers will be held at seven polygons from on September 14 - 20

11:31, 14 September 2017

Open source

Week-long military exercises West-2017 with the participation of Belarusian and Russian troops starts today, on Thursday, September 14 in Belarus, BELTA informs.

It is noted that this year main military maneuvers will be held in the territory of Belarus. They will involve 10,200 troops: 7,200 from the Armed Forces of Belarus and about 3,000 - from the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. In total, it is planned to involve up to 12,700 troops and up to 680 units of military equipment in the exercises. The exercises will be held at seven training polygons, among them two airfields of the Air Force and air defense forces.

As Belarus Defense Ministry stated on the eve of the exercises, joint military maneuvers with Russia are only defensive.

"The main goal of the exercise is to check the capabilities of Belarus and Russia to ensure the military security of the union state, its readiness to repel possible aggression, and to enhance the coordination of military command and control agencies, field and air training of military units of the Armed Forces of the two countries," the Belarusian defense department said.

Related: West-2017 aims to provoke NATO, test its defense capability, - Fallon

The exercises will be supervised by international observers of the UN, OSCE, NATO, CIS, CSTO and the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as military observers from neighboring countries, including Ukraine.

As it was reported earlier Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko claimed that the Russian-Belarusian West-2017 drills threaten Ukraine. He noted that Ukraine will control and monitor for withdrawal of all equipment after the drills.

The Head of the General Staff Viktor Muzhenko noted that Ukraine prepares for different scenarios due to the West-2017 drills. According to him, these drills have a broader context than the announced maneuvers in the territory of Belarus. The aim of them is to train the Russian troops for the offensive actions and carry a threat both for NATO countries and former Soviet-era countries.  

Related: West 2017 military drills could be ‘Trojan horse’ for Eastern Europe, - Hodges

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