Belarusian Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Oleg Belokonev called the excitement around the Russian-Belarusian Zapad-2017 exercises, which will be held in September, incomprehensible. He assured that the Russian group participating in the exercises in the territory of the Republic of Belarus would return to Russia by September 30, BelaPAN news website reports.
"The exercise will allow us in practice to improve infrastructure sharing arrangements in the interest of ensuring the military security of the Union State and creating conditions for more effective provision of the national security, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Belarus. In addition, bear in mind that at its end, by 30 September, the personnel, weapons and special equipment of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus will return to their points of permanent deployment. Those of the Russian Federation will return to their territory. I'm interested to know: what will they say next?" he said.
Belokonev drew attention to the fact that similar exercises are regularly held in Russia. Groups of several thousand people from the Armed Forces of Belarus constantly participate in them.
"At the same time, no one, neither in Russia, nor in other countries, is outraged and does not predict the mythical occupation of Russian regions, as is done today by individual analysts and the media in regard to the several thousands of Russian soldiers who are arriving or who arrived in Belarus to participate in last year's announced exercise," said the head of the Belarusian General Staff.
The NSDC (National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine) secretary, Oleksandr Turchynov believes that the Zapad-2017 exercise will test Russia's readiness for a big war with NATO countries.
At the same time, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko guaranteed during his visit to Kyiv that the territory of his country would not be used to invade Ukraine.