09:50 GMT +320 January 2020
Listen Live
    Get short URL

    Russian deputy defense minister Alexander Fomin is sure that Eastern Europe and Baltics have nothing to worry about amid the upcoming Zapad-2017 drills.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Eastern European and Baltic nations have nothing to worry about during the upcoming joint war games by Russian and Belarusian militaries, the Russian deputy defense minister has said.

    The drills, called Zapad-2017 (West-2017), are scheduled to begin Thursday and last a week. They will stretch from Russia’s northwest to Belarus and involve 12,700 service personnel.

    "I can calm our dear neighbors straightaway. The exercise is absolutely peaceful, and absolutely defensive in nature," Alexander Fomin told the Deutsche Welle broadcaster in an interview on Wednesday.

    He said the name referred to the Russian territory and that of Belarus, which lies even further to the west – and not to the countries of the West.

    Asked by DW if people in Eastern Europe and the Baltics could sleep easily, Fomin replied, "Certainly. And I am serious about that."

    He rejected claims that the exercise was directed against NATO’s eastern flank, saying it was "not a reason for NATO troops to be stationed directly on the Russian border." The alliance has been building up its presence in the region since a war broke out in Ukraine in 2014.

    Several NATO member states and Ukraine have raised concerns about the drills, while the German defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen, claimed last week that over 100,000 troops would participate, an allegation refuted by Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


    All OSCE Members Got Advance Notice on Upcoming Zapad-2017 Drills
    Russian General Staff Chief Informs NATO About Massive Zapad Drills With Belarus
    Foreign Journalists Allowed to Observe Massive Russia-Belarus Zapad Drills
    NATO to Send Experts to Massive Russia-Belarus Zapad-2017 War Games
    Swiss Lawmaker: Escalation Around Zapad-2017 Drills ‘Children’s Games’
    Ukraine Steps Up Security on Border Ahead of Russia-Belarus Zapad-2017 War Games
    Russia Answers NATO's Accusations About Upcoming Zapad Drills
    Ukraine Adjusts Army Training Plan Due to Russia-Belarus Zapad-2017 Drills
    Zapad-2017, drills, Alexander Fomin, Russia, Belarus
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik