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19 Sep 2017

Foreign reporters remark upon openness of Belarusian-Russian army exercise Zapad 2017

IVATSEVICHI DISTRICT, 19 September (BelTA) – Foreign reporters, who are accredited to cover the Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2017, have remarked upon the exercise’s openness, BelTA has learned.

About 50 reporters from Ukraine, Germany, France, the UK, the USA, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia came to the Domanovo army exercise area to cover the second stage of the Zapad 2017 exercise. Nora Thorp Bjornstad from Norway was one of them.

“I think everything is sufficiently open. It is very important. We’ve talked to colleagues from Norway and Sweden. They are satisfied, too,” said the Norwegian reporter.

“We were quite surprised to receive accreditation. We thought it would be quite difficult to achieve. We are glad to be here. People in Belarus are very hospitable,” she noted.

Nora Bjornstad works for a European printed media and does not specialize in military affairs. However, people in Europe are interested in the Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2017, this is why not coming to observe the exercise would have been a mistake, she noted.

Chairman of the Norwegian Observer Group Ralhina VeiliA mixed unit consisting of one battalion of air defense missile systems S-300 and one battery of air defense missile systems Osa worked together with battlefield air defense units in the Domanovo exercise area on 19 September. In line with the concept of the exercise the mixed unit had to repulse group strikes of the enemy’s air force units, which were simulated by two Mi-8 helicopters and four Yak-130 aircraft. Two Osa air defense missile systems and Igla portable air defense missile systems successfully destroyed the targets. As many as 150 personnel and 45 military and special vehicles were used in this episode of the Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2017.

The Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2017 began on 14 September to end on 20 September. In Belarus the regular army exercise areas Lepelsky, Borisovsky, Losvido, Osipovichsky, and the Air Force exercise areas Ruzhansky and Domanovo are used for the exercise in addition to two regular sectors of terrain in Vitebsk Oblast — Dretun and Glubokoye. In Russia the army exercise areas Luzhsky, Strugi Krasnyye, and Pravdinsky in Kaliningrad Oblast, Leningrad Oblast, and Pskov Oblast are used for the exercise. Some 12,700 military personnel are taking part in the Zapad 2017 exercise.


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