Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces: Part of Russian troops may remain in Belarus after the joint Zapad-2017 exercises

At a joint meeting of the Military Science Council of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Viktor Muzhenko, stated that judging by the actions of the Russians, part of the troops preparing to participate in the Russian-Belarusian exercises, Zapad 2017, could remain in Belarus after their completion.

It is likely that after the completion of the exercise, part of these troops will remain in the territory of the Republic of Belarus. In this case, there is a high probability that during the exercise hidden depots of weapons, military equipment and materials, and technical equipment will be deployed," Muzhenko said.

The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces noted that such actions could allow the Russian military to significantly shorten the time to create assault groups in the western and south-western strategic directions, which poses a direct threat to the security of Ukraine.

“According to our information, the number of Russian troops that will participate in the exercises has now been increased from the initially reported 3,000 to 5,000. Conducting such large-scale joint Russian and Belarussian exercises as Zapad 2017 can be seen as a means to build up Russia's combat capabilities at the borders of our state, and also on the borders of Poland and the Baltic countries," Muzhenko said.

Muzhenko also said that the number of regular Russian troops in the occupied territories of Ukraine currently exceeds 30,000.

  Zapad 2017, Russian military exercises, Belarus, Muzhenko