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09 September 2021, 13:18

Belarus' eagerness to reduce conflict potential with peace-loving policy pointed out

Oleg Voinov
Oleg Voinov

MINSK, 9 September (BelTA) – Belarus is intent on reducing the conflict potential in Eastern Europe by pursuing a peace-loving and open policy. Chief of the International Military Cooperation Department of the Belarusian Defense Ministry, Major-General Oleg Voinov made the statement during a media briefing held to discuss the Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2021, BelTA has learned.

The official said: “Judging by the practice, observers are most interested in the focus and content of the forthcoming military exercise. The military and political situation in the world as a whole and in the European region in particular is fraught with the deterioration of existing military threats and the emergence of new ones. Against this unfavorable backdrop Belarus is intent on reducing the conflict potential in Eastern Europe by pursuing a peace-loving and open policy. The foreign policy coupled with the lack of territorial claims to neighbors, Belarus' union with Russia and the membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization have determined the choice of the defensive focus of the exercise as a confirmation of Belarus' strict adherence to stronger regional security.”

In his words, in practice this stance is manifested in the lack of foreign military bases with weapons and military hardware in Belarus' territory. “There is only one node of the missile attack early warning system and a radio station. These Russian military institutions are not military bases,” Oleg Voinov said.

“The joint strategic army exercise Zapad 2021 is purely defensive. The exercise represents no threat to the European community as a whole and to neighboring countries in particular,” Oleg Voinov stressed.

The official is convinced that the exercise will allow improving the mechanism of joint usage of the defense infrastructure for the sake of ensuring the military security of the Union State of Belarus and Russia and will enable conditions for more effective assurance of national security, independence, and territorial integrity of Belarus.

“Apart from that, our country treasures its own reputation of a responsible partner and rigorously observes all the commitments undertaken within the framework of international and regional agreements on disarmament, verification activities, and trust and security-building measures within the framework of the United Nations Organization and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. This is why information about the exercise was made available in advance on the official website of the Defense Ministry and via mass media in the spirit of openness and transparency,” Oleg Voinov said.

The exercise will consist of two stages. The first one will focus on troops control in the course of defensive combat actions and will take place on 10-12 September. The second stage will begin on 13 September and will focus on troops control as the troops finish eliminating the enemy and regain the lost positions. The second stage will end on 16 September.

About 12,800 people, including about 2,500 Russian military personnel and up to 50 Kazakh military personnel belonging to the CSTO collective rapid response forces, will take part in the Zapad 2021 exercise in Belarus' territory. Up to 350 armored units will be deployed, including about 140 tanks, 110 artillery and multiple-launch rocket systems, as well as over 30 aircraft and helicopters.

Once the exercise is over, by 30 September the troops, weapons, military and special hardware of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus will be returned to their permanent bases while troops and units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation will leave Belarus' territory.

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