Belarus and Russia to hold joint military drills

Russia, Belarus to hold joint drills

Fri, 20 Sep 2013 10:03:41 GMT

Russia and Belarus are to begin a joint biannual military maneuver across their own territories involving thousands of service members.

The six-day exercises, codenamed Zapad 2013 (West 2013), will commence on Friday and will involve 12,000 Russian troops, RIA Novosti reports.

According to the report, the sea and ground drills will be conducted near the Baltic sea waters and will involve military bases in Belarus and Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, as well as Baltic and Barents sea waters.

This is while more than 2,500 Russian military servicemen set off for Belarus on September 16.

Additionally, warships from Russia’s Baltic, Black Sea and Northern naval fleets will take part in the drills during its final stages, the report adds.

Meanwhile, international observers “from over 60 states” will attend the two-stage exercises, which will further involve “rapid-reaction” units from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

The military drills have been held every other year since 2009, according to Russia’s First Deputy Defense Minister Arkady Bakhin as cited in the report.

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