The joint Russian-Belarusian Zapad-2017 exercises will take place September 14-20, simulating a NATO invasion of Russian and Belarusian territory.
Ahead of the drills, anonymous US officials indicated that the US military would increase the number of troops it has deployed in the Baltic region to monitor the exercises.
Commenting on the speculation surrounding the drills at a meeting with defense ministers from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on Tuesday, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko described the rumors as "noise."
"There is too much noise, although I can't understand why, around the large-scale Belarusian-Russian exercises taking place in Belarus this fall," Lukashenko said. "But no matter how much we are squeezed, we will hold these exercises. We aim to make them massive, and very serious. I know that Russia shares this sentiment," he added.
The Belarusian president promised to invite CSTO defense ministers, and others, to observe the drills. "These drills will be open," he said. "Let them observe our capabilities. We are very serious about making the drills on Belarusian territory highly effective, and will try to give them a large and diverse character, so that our militaries –those of Russia and Belarus, get a sense for what it is they are protecting, and what obligations are laid out before them."