BRUSSELS, October 26. /TASS/. The amount of Russian forces that took part in the Zapad-2017 drills was much higher than previously reported, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after a Russia-NATO Council meeting between their ambassadors.
"Allies made clear that the scale and geographical scope of exercise ZAPAD 2017 significantly exceeded what Russia had previously announced," Stoltenberg pointed out.
Russia and NATO plan to continue sharing information on their exercises in Europe, the secretary general noted. "At the same time, we agreed that the principle of reciprocal exercise briefings, including advance briefings, is useful. And I hope we will continue these exchanges in the next meetings of the NATO-Russia Council," he said.
NATO has no information about any Russian troops left behind after the Zapad-2017 drills completed, he went on. "We don’t have any information indicating that Russia has left any troops behind," he said.
The Zapad-2017 joint Russian-Belarusian military drills took place on the territory of both countries on September 14-20. The military exercises involved up to 12,700 troops. According to media reports, the last train carrying Russian troops that had participated in the drills left Belarus on September 28.
Foreign media and a number of officials earlier made allegations that the Russian troops had remained in Belarus after the drills. However, both Russian and Belarusian defense ministries have been repeatedly rejecting such allegations.