MINSK, 10 September (BelTA) – A Belarusian delegation presented information about the Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2021 [West 2021] at a session of the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation in Vienna, Austria on 8 September, representatives of the Belarusian embassy in Austria told BelTA.
The presentation pointed out that the military exercise was a scheduled one and represents the final stage in the system of joint training of Belarusian and Russian army units in 2021. In line with the training schedule the exercise will take place in Belarus and Russia on 10-16 September.
Abiding by the 2011 Vienna Document on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures, Belarus notified the OSCE member states about the forthcoming military exercise back in November 2020. An F25 notification about parameters of this military activity was sent via an OSCE communication network on 30 July 2021. Apart from that, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, First Deputy Defense Minister of Belarus Viktor Gulevich held a media briefing on 5 August for the military diplomatic corps accredited in Belarus and for mass media. Information about the concept, goals, and tasks of the military exercise was presented during the media briefing. It was stressed that the concept of the exercise is purely defensive.
The Zapad 2021 exercise does not represent a threat to the European community as a whole and to neighboring countries in particular. It will allow improving in practice the procedure for the joint use of defensive infrastructure. It will check the readiness and the ability of the regional military force to carry out designated missions.
The concept of the exercise was worked out using one possible variant for the evolution of the military and political situation resulting in the aggravation of international contradictions to a point that can destabilize the situation in the region and can launch an aggression against the Union State of Belarus and Russia. A crisis situation scenario revolving around a conflict prompted by the growing activity of illegal armed bands, separatist and international terrorist organizations, which enjoy external support, is at the heart of the concept of the exercise. Territories of the opposing forces and the state borders are provisional.
To carry out the exercise's missions, Belarus will offer four training areas: Obuz-Lesnovsky, Domanovsky, Ruzhansky, and Brestsky.
The achievement of a number of training goals will be practiced in Belarus' territory during the exercise: to increase the level of readiness and the ability of command and control bodies of the Belarusian army and the Russian one to work together as they take care of military security of the Union State of Belarus and Russia; to improve their interaction and field skills in the course of combat operations; to work out and test a variant of joint actions in the course of repulsing an aggression against the Union State for the sake of preserving the territorial integrity of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation; to allow commanding officers and staffs to acquire practical experience of troops control in the course of repulsing an aggression against the Union State.
In line with the concept of the exercise the number of personnel, combat tanks, armored fighting vehicles, multiple-launch rocket systems, artillery systems, and the number of planned aircraft sorties do not exceed the level that triggers mandatory observation of certain kinds of military activities specified by various treaties and agreements on arms control.
The invitation of international observers and representatives of the military diplomatic corps of foreign countries is an example of openness of the Zapad 2021 exercise.
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.