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Lukashenko urges maximum transparency during West 2017 army exercise

President 20.03.2017 | 12:38

MINSK, 20 March (BelTA) – The Belarus-Russia joint strategic army exercise West 2017 which will take place on the territory of Belarus in autumn should be as transparent as possible, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he received the report on the preparations for the army exercise on 20 March, BelTA has learned.

“The forthcoming event is absolutely transparent, and I want all of you to do your best to make it transparent and accessible for our friends from the CSTO, EEU, CIS and for the representatives of the North Atlantic Alliance NATO. We do not conceal anything and should not conceal anything. If NATO representatives want to attend our army exercise, they are welcome. Moreover, I already get such information and such signals from their side,” the President stated.

“I want to reiterate for those sending these signals: we do not conceal anything from anyone. You will see that this army exercise is purely defense oriented. You will see that Belarus and Russia are not going to attack anyone and are not going to provoke anyone here. This is not the case. We are getting ready to ensure our security in any situation just to be on the safe side,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The head of state also asked the Defense Ministry to brief him on the state of affairs in the Belarusian army, on the current problems and the ways to solve them this year.

“Having understood that the forthcoming army exercise is an important event in the training of the armies of the two states, I would like you to evaluate the efficiency of the bilateral military cooperation with Russia,” Alexander Lukashenko said. “It is also important for me in the run-up to the possible session of the Supreme State Council. If there are any problems, I would like to outline them for the leadership of Russia and to call for the more efficient cooperation within the framework of our defense agreements in the Union State.”

The President was interested in the major tasks of the joint army exercise, the order of their fulfillment, the structure of involved army units, the regions hosting the event, and the expected practical results.

The head of state instructed the Defense Ministry to focus on the issues of interaction with the state government and local authorities in all aspects of the military exercise. In this context, he remarked that in case of a conflict on the territory of Belarus not only the Armed Forces but the entire population will be involved.

“Do not think that in case of a conflict only the army will act while the others will sit idle waiting for the results,” Alexander Lukashenko underlined. “We are preparing people, in particular, by organizing territorial defense forces. Apart from the territorial defense forces, we are preparing the entire population for protecting the territory of our country and the interests of our state.”

“The arrival and stay of the Russian army on our territory should leave only positive emotions for our army officers and soldiers. These are our people. We must ensure our defense and security together,” the Belarusian leader added.

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