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    ZAPAD- 2013

    All OSCE Members Got Advance Notice on Upcoming Zapad-2017 Drills

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    Col. Gen. Andrei Kartapolov, in charge of the Russia's Western Military District, reports that all OSCE member states were informed about Russian-Belarusian exercises Zapad-2017 in advance.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — All member states of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have been informed about upcoming Russian-Belarusian drills Zapad-2017 in advance, Col. Gen. Andrei Kartapolov, in charge of the Russia's Western Military District, told Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper in an interview released in its Wednesday edition.

    "In accordance with international agreements, all member states of the OSCE were sent an advance notice about the military activity [Zapad-2017], while international observers received their invitations in August," Kartapolov said, as quoted in the newspaper.

    According to him, the upcoming exercise, similar to all the drills in the past, will be "absolutely transparent for international observers as well as for journalists."

    Major General Igor Konashenkov, the Russian defense ministry's official spokesman
    © Photo : Ministry of defence of the Russian Federation
    Russia-Belarus joint military drills Zapad-2017 ("West-2017") will kick off on Thursday and last a week. The exercise will bring together about 12,700 servicemen and hundreds of units of military hardware and equipment.

    A number of NATO member states and Ukraine have expressed concern over the drills. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said last week that the drills were about to serve as the demonstration of Russia's power and capabilities, adding that there were more than 100,000 troops involved in the exercise. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov later in the week refuted her statement on the number of troops.

    Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin has stressed that the drills would be defensive in nature and focus on counter-terrorism operations.

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    Zapad-2017, Belarus, Russia
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