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Belarusian president comments on military cooperation with Russia

September 20, 14:24 UTC+3 BORISOVSKY RANGE

The president says military cooperation between Belarus and Russia is in the two countries’ national interests

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Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko

© AP Photo/Sergei Grits

BORISOVSKY RANGE /Belarus/, September 20. /TASS/. Military cooperation between Belarus and Russia is in the two countries’ national interests and is not aimed against anyone, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said while reviewing the troops that took part in the Zapad-2017 joint drills at the Borisovsky training range.

"We maintain the necessary defense capabilities and take joint measures to counter military threats to Belarus and Russia, as well as to improve the capabilities of the regional forces," the Belarusian leader said.

At the same time, Lukashenko stressed that "joint military activities and cooperation with Russia in conducting drills are not aimed against any country and only serve defense purposes." He also pointed out that by boosting military cooperation, Belarus and Russia did not threaten anyone. "We have never threatened anyone and we have no intention to do that," Lukashenko said.

"Threats and wars never came from our land, but those who invaded this land were always repelled. This is the idea behind our drills. There is no other idea and should not be," the Belarusian president noted.

On Wednesday, the Zapad-2017 joint Russian-Belarusian military drills, which kicked off on September 14, concluded at the Borisovsky training range in Belarus. The exercises, held at six training ranges in Belarus and three training ranges in Russia, involved up to 12,700 troops (with 10,200 troops in Belarus), around 70 aircraft, up to 680 pieces of military equipment, including 250 tanks, up to 200 guns, mortars and multiple-launch rocket systems, as well as ten vessels.

Observers from seven countries, including NATO member states, monitored the drills.

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