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BRUSSELS, July 24 (Itar-Tass) - NATO member-states will use Russia’s invitation to send military observers to the Russian-Belarusian war games Zapad’2013, a diplomatic source at the mission of one of the member-nations told Itar-Tass upon the results of Wednesday’s session of the Russia-NATO Council.
The session was attended by Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov and Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Alexander Postnikov.
“Russian counterparts submitted very interesting information on the past and forthcoming war games and the briefing they gave here combined with the decision to invite NATO observers turned into important steps towards stronger mutual trust and more transparency in Europe,” the diplomat said.
“These steps show that our relations are developing in the right direction,” he said.
Since these actions are reciprocal, “NATO in its turn offers Russia full information on all the large war games held by the member-states,” he said.
Secretary-General of the North Atlantic pact, Anders Fogh Fasmussen said earlier the alliance has invited Russian observers to a similar strategic exercise codenamed Steadfast Jazz. It will be held on the territories of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland in November and will become the largest NATO maneuver in the region over a period of ten years.
Zapad’2013 will be held in September on the territory of Belarus, in Russia’s Western Military District, as well as in the water areas of the Barents Sea and Baltic Sea.
The two countries are going to commit about 13,000 servicemen to the maneuvers. More specifically, the Russian Armed Forces will provide 2,500 servicemen and the Belarusian Armed Forces, 10,400 servicemen.
The combined forces will operate about 60 aircraft and up to 250 combat vehicles.