MOSCOW, October 10. /TASS/. The Russia-Belarus strategic drills dubbed Zapad-2017 (West-2017) have shown the ability of both countries to ensure their military security, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday.
"The goals of the Zapad-2017 drills have been achieved. The armed forces of Russia and Belarus have shown high efficiency in providing military security of the [Russia-Belarus] Union State," Shoigu said, adding that the maneuvers "demonstrated the troops’ increased field, flight and sea skills, and the ability of both countries to jointly solve the issues of military security."
According to the Russian defense minister, the experience gained during the drills will be taken into account when operational and combat training measures are planned for the upcoming training year.
"During the maneuvers, special attention was paid to improving the operational compatibility of the headquarters of different levels when the united command of the regional grouping of forces was planning operations of large formations and military units," the Russian defense minister said.
The maneuvers also tested the provisions of new army regulations, Shoigu added.
The drills have been "unprecedented by their openness," the Russian defense minister said.
The Russia-Belarus strategic drills were covered by 548 Russian and foreign journalists and about 16,000 materials were published, of which 5,000 were issued abroad, he noted.
Almost 12.5 million people got acquainted with information on the drills in the Internet, Shoigu said.
The Zapad-2017 drills were conducted on September 14-20 at practice ranges in Russia and Belarus and involved up to 12,700 troops, up to 680 pieces of the armor and military hardware, about 70 aircraft and helicopters and 10 warships.