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MOSCOW, August 29. /TASS/. Moscow has invited military top brass from a number of countries to attend the final stage of the West-2017 military drills, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Lieutenant General Alexander Fomin said on Tuesday.
"As we seek to ensure the most possible transparency, we have invited military top brass from a number of countries, as well as diplomats and military attaches, to attend the final stage of the West-2017 exercise that will be held at the Luzhsky training range in Russia’s Leningrad region," he said.
Fomin pointed out that the West-2017 military drills, scheduled to take place at six training ranges in Russia and Belarus on September 14-20, would involve around 12,700 troops, as well as about 70 planes and helicopters, up to 680 pieces of military equipment, including about 250 tanks, nearly 200 cannons, multiple launch rocket systems and mortars, and up to ten ships.
"The number of troops and military equipment expected to be involved in the drills is less than the number subjected to mandatory monitoring in accordance the 2011 Vienna document," the Russian deputy defense minister said.
"In order to plan joint activities, Russia will engage operative teams from the Interior Ministry, National Guard, Federal Security Service and Emergencies Ministry," the general added.
At the same time, a source in the Russian Defense Ministry said that special press tours would be arranged for Russian and Western journalists to provide them with an opportunity to see the highlights of the West-2017 military exercise.
The source noted that on Tuesday, representatives of 120 news outlets, including 70 foreign ones, attended a briefing for military attaches, dedicated to preparations for the upcoming drills.
"Today’s briefing is the first in a line of events aimed at covering the joint Russian-Belarusian military drills," the source said adding that the Russian Defense Ministry had planned press tours for Russian and foreign journalists.
"There will be a special page on the Defense Ministry’s website, containing information about the military exercise, including multimedia data," the source added.