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Post-Soviet military bloc's peacekeepers begin exercise in Belarus

August 23, 11:23 UTC+3 MINSK
More than 1,000 troops and 500 units of military equipment will be involved in the joint Unbreakable Brotherhood-2016 exercise of the Collective Security Treaty Organization
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© Yuri Smityuk/TASS

MINSK, August 23. /TASS/. More than 1,000 troops and 500 units of military equipment will be involved in a joint exercise of the peacekeeping contingents of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) member states codenamed Unbreakable Brotherhood-2016, which starts in Belarus on Tuesday, the Belarusian Defense Ministry reported.

"The main objectives of the exercise are strengthening mutual understanding and cooperation between the peacekeeping forces of the CSTO member states, improving practical skills of the commanders and staffs at all levels in preparing a peacekeeping operation and command and control of forces and units during peacekeeping missions," the Defense Ministry said.

In addition, according to the Belarusian Defense Ministry, the CSTO partners will drill interaction "in the provision of humanitarian assistance to the local population in a simulated conflict zone, as well as practice actions to destroy simulated illegal armed groups in their areas of responsibility."

According to the CSTO Secretariat, "for the first time the CSTO Collective Peacekeeping Forces will get the UN Security Council mandate and will act in a crisis region in cooperation with the UN mission." Representatives of the United Nations Secretariat and the International Committee of the Red Cross have been invited to the exercise.

A demonstration of new and upgraded samples of weapons, military and special equipment, the use of which is allowed to the peacekeeping force was held on the eve of the manoeuvers at the Obuz-Lesnovsky military range in the Brest region. About 10 organizations of the Belarusian State Military Industrial Committee system and the defense sector of the Belarusian economy presented nearly 100 samples of weapons, military and special equipment, according to the State Military Industrial Committee.

The Unbreakable Brotherhood-2016 manoeuvers will be held at the Obuz-Lesnovsky range in the Brest region on August 23-27. The Russian peacekeeping contingent involved in the exercise comprises more than 300 soldiers.

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