On September 14-20, Chiefs of General Staffs of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus will hold the Zapad 2017 Joint Strategic Exercise.
For last several months the Western mass media and subsequently politicians have been trying to create a negative environment around this event, keeping pressure on public opinion by amplifying mythical allegations about so called ‘Russian threat’. They suggest the most incredible scenarios, some of which admit that during the Exercise it is planned to prepare ‘a bridgehead for intervention’ and ‘invasion’ of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine is being planned during the Exercise. All of these assumptions have nothing to do with reality. This was confirmed on many occasions by Russian as well as Belarusian officials.
Objective information about the exercise preparation process was regularly published on theweb-sites of military agencies of our countries and broadcasted by the Russian and Belarusian news agencies. Moreover, the Russian and Belarusian sides conducted a numerous briefings for foreign partners, including at the OSCE and NATO. During such briefings objectives and goals of the upcoming exercise Zapad 2017 were explained and its exclusively counter-terrorist and defensive character was confirmed.
In particular, the real scenario envisages that extremists groups penetrate into the territories of the Republic of Belarus and the Kaliningrad region of the Russian Federation in order to carry out terrorist attacks and to destabilize the Union State of Russia and Belarus. These extremists are supported from the outside by receiving logistical assistance, military hardware by air- and sealift.
It is planned that the Exercise will involve about 12,7 thousand troops (including 7,2 thousand of Belarusian troops, about 5,5 thousand of Russian troops and 3 thousand of them – on the territory of the Republic of Belarus), about 70 aircrafts and helicopters, up to 680 pieces of military hardware, including about 250 tanks, up to 200 guns, multiple rocket launch systems and mortars, as well as 10 warships.
Thus, the total numbers of the involved troops, tanks, combat armed vehicles, artillery, mortars and multiple rocket launch systems, as well as amount of planned aircraft sorties, do not exceed the levels provided by the OSCE Vienna Document 2011 on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures.
Seeking maximum transparency, our States took the initiative to invite a number of representatives from foreign defense agencies’ leaderships and military-diplomatic corps to visit the final stage of the Exercise which will take place at Luzhsky range (Leningrad region). In addition to watching troops practical activities, the guests will also bebriefed about the objectives and procedures of the Zapad 2017 Joint Strategic Exercise.