21:56 GMT26 November 2020
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    The joint Zapad-2017 Russian-Belarusian military exercises should be conducted in full compliance with the Vienna Document on confidence and security-building measures to avoid the escalation of tensions in the region, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — He also reiterated that NATO would welcome any invitation from Russia to observe the Zapad-2017 drills.

    "The important thing is that exercises are conducted in a way which does not increase tensions, which does not lead to misunderstanding and which is fully in compliance with our international obligations — for instance, in compliance with the Vienna document," Stoltenberg told reporters when unveiling the alliance's 2016 annual report.

    In early November 2016, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said joint Russian-Belarusian military drills dubbed Zapad-2017 ("West-2017") would be carried out in September 2017. Moscow has repeatedly stressed that it would never attack any of NATO member states.

    military drills, NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, Belarus, Russia
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