MOSCOW, May 13. /TASS/. Russia’s Defense Ministry has invited and will continue to invite reporters to cover Russian military drills, so the country has no need for outside advice, Russian Defense Ministry’s Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday.
Earlier, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, commander of the US Army Europe, urged Russia to invite journalists to the Zapad 2017 military exercise (held near its Western borders) given the country is willing to lower tensions and to assuage anxieties of the West.
"It is highly improbable to find either a motivated journalist or a media outlet in Russia that the Defense Ministry has not invited to cover military exercises over the last five years," Konashenkov said in a comment. "General Hodges has never been dreaming of the transparency level that the media was given to cover military operations of the Russian air force and navy in Syria. Otherwise, major US channels would not have broadcast ‘by mistake’ the Russian Defense Ministry’s video footages shot in Syria as illustrations of the US Air Force’s war on terror in the Middle East."
"Therefore, you should not have advised us to invite the media for the military drills, since we have been doing it each year and will carry on. More than 110 foreign reporters covered the recent Kavkaz 2016 strategic exercise," he underlined.
Since the Russian Aerospace Force started carrying out strikes in Syria, the Defense Ministry has organized more than ten press tours for foreign journalists, when they were able to communicate with local civilians and servicemen.
"Instead of urging us to be transparent, General Hodges should recall whether Russian journalists have ever been invited to cover the US Army’s exercises in Europe," he concluded.