Russian military forces tasked with logistic and technical support for the joint strategic exercise Zapad-2017 will arrive in Belarus, the Defense Ministry reports.
“From August 15 on, military units and subdivisions of the Russian part of the regional group of troops will be arriving to create an environment for organizing a process-oriented training of forces and means of logistic support during the exercise,” the report reads.
According to the Ministry, in August 21-25 there will be a joint special exercise with the participation of military authorities, formations, military units and logistics support organizations of the armed forces of the two countries as part of the preparation for the war game Zapad-2017.
“They will be drilling technical protection of facilities on the alloted bits of military roads, as well as evacuation, repair and restoration of defective samples of weapons and equipment, deployment of field pipeline and stations of mass fueling the vehicles,” the statement says.
80 representatives of foreign countries have reportedly been invited to observe the war game in Belarus.
“The exercise is open. We have invited a great number of observers. Please come and see it with your own eyes,” president Alyaksandr Lukashenka said in July.
The observes need to be invited by the both parties, Belarus and Russia. Minsk has already confirmed that, among others, it expects an observer from Latvia to arrive. Meanwhile, Russia has still not invited a representative of the country, Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis told Russian news agency TASS.
The Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2017 scheduled for September, 14-20 is supposed to demonstrate ‘persistence in efforts to ensure security of the two brotherly nations’. Such exercises are held in Belarus and Russia interchangeably every two years. In September, there will be about 10,000 troops involved in the exercise in the Belarusian territory (7,200 – the Belarusian Armed Forces and about 3,000 – the Russian Army).
At the same time, Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite and a number of European politicians believe that the ‘West-2017’ demonstrates the preparation of Belarus and Russia to the war with the West. In mid April, Oleksandr Turchynov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, stressed that the joint military exercise might become the preparation for an assault against Ukraine in September.