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MINSK, September 16. /TASS/. The second stage of Zapad-2017 military drills will begin on September 17, when the forces will be tasked to repel a simulated act of aggression against the Union State of Russia and Belarus, the Belarusian Defense Ministry’s Spokesman Vladimir Makarov said on Saturday.
"On September 17, the second stage of the exercise begins. It will train the forces’ command during combat activities aimed to repel an act of aggression against the Union State amid a rapidly changing situation and the organization of interaction and overwhelming maintenance so as to solve the set tasks," Makarov said.
A large-scale exercise Zapad-2017 began in Russia and Belarus on Thursday at three proving grounds in Russia and six in Belarus with 12,700 troops (7,200 Belarussian and 5,500 Russian ones taking part). Also involved in the exercise are about 70 planes and helicopters, 680 ground vehicles, including about 250 tanks, 200 artillery pieces, multiple rocket launchers and mortars and ten ships. The main purpose of the exercise is to improve the compatibility of command and control centers, test new documentation and let commanders of all levels practice planning and control of operations on the basis of experience gained in the latest military conflicts.
The exercise will last till September 20.