MOSCOW, October 29 (RIA Novosti) – Russia and Belarus will hold joint military exercises titled 2015-Union Shield, following the success of the recent Zapad-2013 drills conducted recently by the two nations, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday.
“We have evaluated the results of the Zapad-2013 joint strategic exercise,” he said. “The results of the maneuvers were rated positively.”
The experience gained “will be taken into account in preparing the joint Union Shield-2015 exercise,” Shoigu said following a meeting of the Russian and Belarusian defense officials on Tuesday.
This year’s exercise involved about 12,000 Russian and 200 Belarusian servicemen, 180 combat vehicles, including 10 tanks, as well as 10 ships from Russia’s Baltic Fleet and 40 aircraft.
The joint exercise, which was held in September, was observed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko.
The previous Union Shield exercise held in 2011 involved some 12,000 military servicemen, including 4,800 Belarusian military personnel.