MINSK, 2 November (BelTA) – This year's plan on cooperation between the Belarusian and Russian defense ministries has been successfully fulfilled, BelTA learned from Belarusian Defense Minister Andrei Ravkov during the joint session of the boards of the Belarusian and Russian defense ministries on 2 November.
The Defense Minister said that cooperation between the Belarusian and Russian armed forces had become more intensive. The plan on cooperation in 2016 included over 100 events. “It has been fulfilled successfully while the military personnel of the two countries have learned how to respond together to changes in the military and political situation in the Eastern Europe region,” said Andrei Ravkov.
The top events and projects implemented in 2016 included joint exercises for special forces and paratroopers, the command post exercise Interaction 2016 of the collective rapid response forces of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), and the CSTO exercise Unbreakable Brotherhood 2016, which involved the CSTO peacekeeping forces. The next exercise of the kind is scheduled for September 2016. During the exercises the Belarusian and Russian military personnel practiced their working together in an optimal manner. “Today we discussed and approved the concept for the future joint exercise Zapad 2017 [West 2017] that will take place in Belarus and Russia. The armed forces will demonstrate their ability and readiness to carry out missions together. The West 2017 exercise will take care of practical goals meant to improve the military administration system and the troop training system. It will also help improve the system used to control the regional military group. The exercise will improve interaction within the framework of the united regional air defense system. It will also improve the united systems used for gathering intelligence and for radioelectronic warfare. Material, technical, and other kinds of support will be improved as well,” said Andrei Ravkov.
In his words, during the meeting on 2 November the sides signed an agreement on cooperation in technical support for the regional military group. The agreement will further improve technical cooperation and will allow pursuing a coordinated policy for applying and improving technical support assets for the benefit of the regional military group.
Participants of the joint session of the boards of the Belarusian and Russian defense ministries also passed the work plan for the next year and the Belarusian-Russian action plan on defense affairs for the period till 2018. A protocol to the agreement on the joint protection of the external border of the Union State of Belarus and Russia and on establishing the united regional air defense system was adopted as well. A regulation on interaction in information sharing was passed, too. The documents will take care of military security of the Belarus-Russia Union. A set of organizational and practical measures will be implemented to determine the main approaches to preparing and carrying out joint exercises as well as approaches to interaction in the area of radiation and chemical protection and the organization of information work. The Belarusian Defense Minister mentioned the sides enjoy full understanding in matters concerning the two defense ministries. “The fulfillment of the planned events and measures will allow us to continue improving the defensive capability of the two countries and the Union State of Belarus and Russia as a whole,” said Andrei Ravkov.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu remarked that supporting peace and stability in the Eastern Europe region is one of the purposes of Belarus-Russia military cooperation. “We have adopted a plan on cooperation between the two defense ministries in 2017. The document stipulates over 130 events and measures. The decisions are aimed at beefing up the security of the Union State and improving the capability to respond to modern challenges and threats,” he said.
Sergei Shoigu emphasized that while developing the concept for the Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise West 2017, they will take into account the increase in NATO activities near the border of the Belarus-Russia Union. “The international mechanisms, which are designed to resolve crisis situations, are losing traction while trouble spots are now very close to our borders. Taking into account the evolving political reality a lot of attention is paid to the agreement on the joint protection of the external border of the Union State in air space and to the establishment of the Belarusian-Russian regional air defense system,” remarked the Russian Defense Minister.