Zapad 2017: Joint Russian-Belarusian military drills kick off on seven training grounds in Belarus

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Zapad 2017: Joint Russian-Belarusian military drills kick off on seven training grounds in Belarus

As the Radio Liberty reports, the drills aim to restore the Soviet tradition of military training of the Warsaw Pact countries which got ready to confront NATO.

Belarus and Russia decided to restore such military drills since 2009, although they did not name a potential enemy. The exercises are held every two years alternately on the territory of Belarus and Russia, the report says.

The peculiarity of the exercises in 2017 is the changing geopolitical situation: Russia's aggressive actions against Ukraine and its confrontation with NATO, and the status of Belarus as a negotiating platform for Ukraine and Russia in discussing the Donbas problem. In addition, according to military analysts, Belarus acts as the ally of the aggressor country.

According to the Belarusian Ministry of Defense, the military exercises will be held on seven training grounds and in two separate localities in the territory of Belarus. A total of 10,200 military personnel will take part in the drills: 7,000 Belarusian troops and 3,000 Russian servicemen.

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