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29 August 2017, 15:21

Russia invites foreign defense agencies to observe Zapad 2017

Alexander Fomin
Alexander Fomin

MOSCOW, 29 August (BelTA-TASS) – Russia has invited top officials of several foreign defense agencies to observe the final stage of the Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2017, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin noted on 29 August.

“We aspire to be as transparent as possible. It was our initiative to invite top officials of several foreign defense agencies, diplomats, and military attaches to visit the Luzhsky training field in Leningrad Oblast where the final stage of Zapad 2017 will take place,” Alexander Fomin said.

He recalled that there are plans to deploy over 12,700 military personnel, some 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.

“Thus, the number of troops, tanks, armored fighting vehicles, artillery units, mortar launchers, and flying missions scheduled does not exceed the number defined in the 2011 Vienna Document. The military exercise is therefore not subject to compulsory observation,” Alexander Fomin underlined.

In his words, the joint Belarus-Russia command staff will comprise representatives of the Belarusian and Russian general staff, the Western Military District, the Military Transport Aviation Command, and also commanders of the Belarusian Air Force and Air Defense Forces.

“Russia will also enlist the help of operational groups of other defense agencies: the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Russian National Guard, the Federal Security Service, and the Emergencies Ministry," Alexander Fomin added.

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