MOSCOW, 14 September (BelTA) - The Belarus-Russia joint army exercise Zapad 2017 has kicked off in the two countries, BelTA learned from the Information and Mass Communications Department of Russia's Defense Ministry.
“Heads of military administrative bodies, commanders of large and small units and military bases involved in the drills have received directives of the general staffs of the Belarus-Russia Union State regarding their training missions," the department said.
Belarusian and Russian military administrative bodies and military units will drill joint actions to improve interoperability and ensure comprehensive security in order to accomplish the assigned missions as part of the regional military force.
Staged tactical events and live-fire exercises set to involve aircraft and air defense units will take place at Belarus' Lepelsky, Losvido, Borisovsky, Osipovichsky, Ruzhansky and Domanovsky training ranges, in the Dretun and Glubokoye areas in Belarus, and also at the Luzhsky, Strugi Krasnye, and Pravdinsky training ranges in Russia.
“Chiefs of the Belarusian and Russian general staffs will be supervising the Zapad 2017 drills which are the final stage of the joint training program of the Russian and Belarusian armed forces. The military exercise is purely defensive and is not aimed against any country or group of states,” the Russian Defense Ministry underlined.
The drills involve up to 12,700 troops (some 7,200 Belarusian and around 5,500 Russian troops, with up to 3,000 of them deployed to Belarus), up to 70 planes and helicopters, up to 680 units of military equipment, including nearly 250 tanks, up to 200 artillery units, multiple launch rocket systems and mortar launchers, and also 10 warships.More about Society