TASS Russian News Agency, 13 June 2017
MINSK, June 13. /TASS/. The West-2017 Belarusian-Russian exercises are to be large-scale and effective in spite of pressure from the outside, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said at a meeting with the defense ministers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) member-countries on Tuesday.
“No matter what pressure is exerted on us, we will hold these exercises and are determined to make them large-scale and serious. I know that there is a similar approach in Russia,” Lukashenko said. “We are not threatening anyone. We do not need anything that is not ours, just like Russia, so we will practice everything our potential rivals practice.”
According to Lukashenko, Belarusians and Russians train their respective armies to protect their territory, countries and peoples. The president noted that the CSTO defense ministers and other officials will be invited to attend them.
“These exercises are open. Let them look at our capabilities. We are determined to make sure that the exercises in Belarus are held effectively, and we will try to make these exercises large-scale and diverse so that our militaries feel what they protect in this direction and what obligations they shoulder.”
The West-2017 joint strategic exercises of the Belarusian and Russian armed forces will be held this autumn. About 13,000 troops are expected to take part in them. About 3,000 Russian military servicemen and 280 equipment units are due to be involved in them.