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13 Jun 2017

Lukashenko: We will stage the Belarusian-Russian army exercise regardless of pressure

MINSK, 13 June (BelTA) – Regardless of any pressure the Belarusian-Russian army exercise Zapad 2017 will be held in a no-nonsense manner on a large scale. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made the statement as he met with the defense ministers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) member states on 13 June, BelTA has learned.

The head of state said: “You know perfectly well that Belarus is responsible for the western direction as part of the Union State [of Belarus and Russia] and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. It is Belarus’ responsibility area. Our entire army is focused on it together with the Russian Federation. We have a clear-cut action plan for various situations.”

The Belarusian-Russian army exercise Zapad 2017 will take place in Belarus this autumn. “Regardless of any pressure we will stage this exercise. And we intend to arrange a large-scale and very serious exercise at that,” stated the president. “I know that the mood in Russia is exactly the same. We are not trying to scare anyone. We don’t need someone else’s riches. This is why we are going to practice all the things that our potential competitors are practicing. We train the army and will train it to protect our territory, our state, and our nations.”

The head of state mentioned the exercise will be transparent: “We will invite all the defense ministers, who are present here today, and more than that. It will be an open exercise. They will be free to watch our capabilities. We are very seriously intent on holding a very effective exercise in Belarus. We will try to make the exercise versatile and large so that our military — in Russia and in Belarus — could feel what they protect in this direction and what commitments they have to honor.”

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