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MOSCOW, September 10. /TASS/. Russia on its own initiative has notified the countries signatories to the Vienna Document 2011 of the Russian-Belarusian manoeuvres Union Shield-2015, the Russian Defense Ministry’s press service reported on Thursday.
"Despite the fact that the Union Shield-2015 exercise does not fall under the provisions of the Vienna Document, the Russian Federation, in good faith has sent notice of it to all the participating states," Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov, quoted by the ministry press service, said.
According to previous report, the Russian-Belarusian manoeuvres were launched on Thursday at military training grounds in the Leningrad and Pskov regions. In addition, ships, aircraft and units of the Baltic Fleet’s coastal defense troops were alerted as part of the exercise. The Defense Ministry said that the manoeuvres were aimed at checking the capability of the headquarters, formations and units to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Union State, as well as improving interoperability of command and control bodies of the Belarusian and Russian armies.
Union Shield-2015 will last until September 16. The exercise, according to the press service, involves about 7,500 Russian and some 1,300 Belarusian troops, up to 370 combat vehicles, about 80 warplanes and helicopters.