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SEVASTOPOL, August 9. /TASS/. Over 60 countries have sent their observers to the 2017 International Army Games, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Lieutenant-General Alexander Fomin said on Wednesday.
"We have sent out invitations to all our foreign colleagues to take part in the Army International Games as observers. Over 60 countries have responded to our invitation, including America, Europe, and also our partners from CIS countries, the Middle East and Asia," he said.
Some observers have expressed their desire to take part in the contests of the Army International Games as participants next year, the general said.
"And some contestants from this year’s competitions are considering holding some contests of the Army Games on the territory of their countries," the deputy defense minister said.
The number of participants in the Army Games increases with every passing year, the general said.
"Considering that we are open for all without any exception and are glad to see the servicemen of the armies of all the countries at the Army Games, the number of participants in the contests increases with every passing year," he said.
"Last year, teams from 18 countries participated in the competitions, whereas this year their number is already 28. We are glad to see this and are confident that the number of countries participating in the Army Games will grow with each year," the deputy defense minister said.
The Russian deputy defense minister gave start today to the concluding stage of military divers’ contest, Depth-2017, which had brought together teams from Russia, Iran, Venezuela, South Africa and Syria.
Russia’s military personnel are the front-runners in the overall team standing after 16 contests held over the first ten days of this year’s International Army Games. Kazakhstan is second and China, third, the competition’s chief referee, Major-General Dmitry Gorbatenko, told the media on Wednesday.
"According to the preliminary rating of the Army Games-2017’s participants, after ten days of competitions Russia is in the lead (ten first places, six second and two third ones). Kazakhstan is second (two top positions, five second and two third places). China is third (with two golds and three silvers). Belarus is fourth, Egypt - fifth, Uzbekistan - sixth, Iran - seventh and Azerbaijan, eighth," Gorbatenko said, adding that the rating was based on the overall number of medals won.
In the continuing twelve contests Russia is in the lead, too, for now (six first places and three second positions). China follows (with five top places and one second). Azerbaijan is third with one first place followed by Kazakhstan, Belarus, Iran, Uzbekistan and South Africa.
This year’s Army Games are being held at 22 sites in Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and China from July 29 to August 12 with 28 countries taking part.