Zapad-2017: Belarusians asked to stay away from forests ‘for security reasons’

‘For security reasons, please refrain from visiting forests’. Ivatsevichy executive committee appealed to local residents in the run-up to the Zapad-2017 military exercise.

In Hlybokaye disctrict, where the maneuvers will also be staged, many locals were called back to duty. But our reporters were strictly forbidden to film to their oathtaking.

Zapad-2017 is not the first Russian-Belarusian joint drills in the territory of our country. Why is so much attention being given to that? What is the true purpose of the war game? Independent experts tried to answer the questions at the international discussion “Regional Security and Zapad-2017 Military Exercise”.

The Belarusian Embassy in Vilnius denied visas to six Lithuanian MPs who were to take part in the discussion in Minsk. According to Lithuania’s former Former Minister Audronius Ažubalis, Belarusian authorities are playing safe.

However, in spite of the obstacles, Lithuanian experts managed to present their opinions during a video conference. Three days prior to the war game, the UK government also offered insights into the issue. According to Defense Minister Michael Fallon, the major aim of the exercise is not training the armed forces of the both countries, but provoking NATO and checking its defensibility.

“I think that at the very moment there is no threat today that Russian tanks will soon cross our border. But I see another threat: they are sending a message to Russian society that the enemy is in the West, that they should prepare for a war against the West,” Michał Kamiński, a member of the Committee for Foreign Affairs of the Polish Sejm, explains.

Last Friday, about 300 Belarusians protested against holding Zapad-2017 in Belarus. According to officialinformation, nearly 13,000 soldiers will take part in the maneuvers. prevent the action brought together about 300 participants from. A bit earlier,  there was also a rally against the Kremlin’s war games near the Belarusian Embassy in New York.

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