MINSK, 18 September (BelTA) – President of Belarus and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko will attend the Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2017 on 20 September, the press service of the Belarusian leader told BelTA.
The head of state is expected to watch a major episode of the ongoing army exercise at the 227th combined arms exercise area (Borisovsky). Apart from the Belarusian head of state top-ranking officers of the Russian army, top officials of integration structures — the Union State of Belarus and Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) as well as foreign observers and diplomats are expected to be present in the army exercise area.
From a viewing platform Alexander Lukashenko will be able to evaluate the level of cohesion between army units in the course of a defensive action.
The Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2017 will end on 20 September. In Belarus the regular army exercise areas Lepelsky, Borisovsky, Losvido, Osipovichsky, and the Air Force exercise areas Ruzhansky and Domanovo are used for the exercise in addition to two regular sectors of terrain in Vitebsk Oblast — Dretun and Glubokoye. In Russia the army exercise areas Luzhsky, Strugi Krasnyye, and Pravdinsky in Kaliningrad Oblast, Leningrad Oblast, and Pskov Oblast are used for the exercise.
Some 12,700 military personnel are taking part in the Zapad 2017 exercise. About 10,200 troops are deployed in Belarus, with Belarus contributing slightly more than 7,000 people and Russia supplying about 3,000 troops. The Belarusian part of the exercise will also involve a total of 370 armored vehicles, including about 140 combat tanks. Up to 150 artillery units and multiple-launch rocket systems, over 40 aircraft and helicopters will be deployed as well.
Belarus has invited dozens of observers to watch the exercise, including those representing the armed forces of Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Ukraine, Sweden, and Estonia and observers representing international organizations such as the UN, OSCE, NATO, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the integration bodies — the Secretariat of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the CSTO Joint Staff, the Secretariat of the CIS Defense Ministers Council, the CIS Anti-Terrorism Center, and the Union State of Belarus and Russia. Invitations have also been sent to the military attaches accredited with the Belarusian Defense Ministry.
BelTA quoted the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying on 14 September that the ministry had accredited 273 foreign reporters to cover the Zapad 2017 exercise.More about President