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MOSCOW, July 25 (Itar-Tass) - Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov said Russia doubts that the NATO exercises Steadfast Jazz 2013 in Poland scheduled for November will facilitate the growth of trust between Russia and the Alliance.
“While preparing today’s meeting, we thorough study information get from the NATO countries over the Steadfast Jazz 2013 exercises. I don’t hide that the Russian Defence Ministry was bewildered with the purpose of the exercises implying to use Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. The Cold War times creep from these exercises. How such actions can facilitate the growth of trust between Russia and the NATO countries?” Antonov asked.
At the same time, he said Russia “noted the NATO countries’ interest in training of the Russian Armed Forces. I mean the Zapad 2013 manoeuvres set for September and sudden operability test. Today Russia has taken another serious step towards military transparency. We’ll inform our colleagues about the goals and the tasks of the Russian-Belarusian manoeuvres”.
“I want to stress that we’re doing this ahead of time and not during the exercises as it was done earlier,” Antonov added.
The Zapad 2013 exercises envisage training the fight against terrorist groups and illegal armed units that penetrate into the territory of Russia and Belarus. “I want to stress that unlike the May NATO briefing on the Steadfast Jazz 2013 we’ll disclose the goals and tasks of the exercises, the area and participants in the exercises by pointing to firing ranges and territories, the structure of control authority and the number of military hardware. Isn’t it additional contribution to developing voluntary military transparency?” Antonov said.
“We agreed with Belarus to invite foreign representatives to observe the Zapad 2013 manoeuvres. We’ll hold additional briefings before and after the exercises. We’ll maintain permanent contacts with European colleagues and journalists,” the deputy minister said. “I want to believe that our actions will be adequately reflected in official comments,” he stressed.
The Zapad 2013 exercises will take place in Belarus, at the Russian Western Military District, in the water areas of the Barents and Baltic Seas. The manoeuvres are expected to involve about 13,000 servicemen.
The Steadfast Jazz 2013 manoeuvres will be held in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and at the Baltic Sea on November 2-9. They are due to involve several thousands of NATO soldiers.