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Kremlin expects Lithuanian president to change view on Zapad-2017 drills

September 20, 13:46 UTC+3 MOSCOW

While addressing the United Nations General Assembly, the Lithuanian president claimed that Russia was making preparations for attacking the western countries

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Zapad-2017 Russia-Belarus military exercises

Zapad-2017 Russia-Belarus military exercises

© AP Photo/Sergei Grits

MOSCOW, September 20. /TASS/. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite may change her opinion on the Zapad-2017 Russian-Belarusian military drills when she receives information from international observers monitoring the exercises, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"Quite many international observers have visited the drills, there was a briefing for them where they could receive thorough information regarding the goals and aims of the drills, and they also had the opportunity to see with their own eyes that the drills’ scenario was consistent with the declared goals," the Russian presidential spokesman said.

"I believe, after Mrs. Grybauskaite receives this information, she may change her opinion,"Peskov added.

On Monday, Grybauskaite held a meeting with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres. According to the Lithuanian presidential press service, Grybauskaite informed Guterres about "Russia‘s actions at the border with Lithuania, security situation in the region and threats posed to the people all over the world by aggressive military exercise Zapad."

While addressing the United Nations General Assembly, the Lithuanian president claimed that Russia was making preparations for attacking the western countries. According to her, "the Kremlin is rehearsing aggressive scenarios against its neighbors, training its army to attack the West."

Zapad-2017 military drills

The Zapad-2017 joint Russian-Belarusian strategic military drills are taking place at six training ranges in Belarus and three training ranges in Russia on September 14-20.

The military exercises involve 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, are monitoring the drills.

The main purpose of the exercises is to improve the compatibility of command and control centers, test new documentation, harmonize troops management systems and provide commanders of various levels of importance with an opportunity to train their skills in planning military events and managing troops based on the experience received during modern armed conflicts.

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