MINSK, 29 August (BelTA) – About 10,200 military personnel will be deployed in Belarus for the Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2017, BelTA learned from Belarusian First Deputy Defense Minister, Chief of the General Staff Oleg Belokonev on 29 August. Oleg Belokonev will supervise the exercise on behalf of the Belarusian side.
Some 12,700 military personnel will take part in the Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2017. About 10,200 personnel will be deployed in Belarus, with Belarus contributing slightly more than 7,000 people and Russia supplying about 3,000 troops. The Belarusian part of the exercise will also involve 370 armored vehicles, including about 140 combat tanks. Up to 150 artillery units and multiple-launch rocket systems, over 40 aircraft and helicopters will be deployed as well.
The OSCE member states, which are parties to the 2011 Vienna Document, were informed about it on 2 August, said Oleg Belokonev. The forthcoming exercise will be purely defensive. It entails no threat to the European community as a whole or neighboring countries in particular, noted the official.
Oleg Belokonev made it clear that in line with the concept of the Zapad 2017 exercise the number of personnel, combat tanks, fighting vehicles, and self-propelled and towed artillery units the exercise will involve, the number of intended air force missions do not exceed the levels, which are subject to mandatory oversight in accordance with various arms control agreements. The exercise will allow improving the joint usage of the defense infrastructure for the sake of military security of the Union State of Belarus and Russia. It will also enable conditions for more effective ways to ensure the national security, independence, and territorial integrity of Belarus, said the chief of the General Staff of the Belarusian army.
Once the exercise is over, by 30 September the personnel, weapon systems, military and special hardware of the Belarusian army will return to their permanent stations while the Russian army forces will leave Belarus' territory.