September 16, 2013 16:47
Russia, Belarus getting ready for joint "strategic" military exercise
SOCHI, Russia. Sept 16 (Interfax-AVN) - Russia and Belarus are getting ready for a routine joint military exercise to take place in Belarus, western Russia and the Baltic Sea late this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday.
"The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation is involved in intensive preparations for the Zapad 2013 [West 2013] joint strategic exercise with the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus. Training sites in the Republic of Belarus, the region of Kaliningrad and the Baltic Sea are planned to be used as the venues of the forces' practical action," Putin said during a videoconference with top Russian Defense Ministry figures.
"I'm aware that the forces of [Russia's] Western Military District are being put on the highest combat alert and are intensively training in the rail transportation of troops and their conveyance to the training sites for this task," he said.
Zapad 2013 will be held on September 20-26 and bring together 2,520 Russian troops.
Zapad exercises are to take place once every two years under a 2009 agreement between Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
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