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Second stage of Zapad 2013 Russia-Belarus joint exercise to begin

September 23, 2013, 11:04 UTC+3
The Zapad 2013 maneuvers are a scheduled event of joint combat training of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus
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Photo ITAR-TASS/Vladimir Smirnov

Photo ITAR-TASS/Vladimir Smirnov

MOSCOW, September 23 (Itar-Tass) - The second phase of the Zapad 2013 (West 2013) joint military exercise is beginning on Monday in Belarus and Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast. Their participants will drill issues of troops command and control during military actions to stabilize the situation for ensuring security of the Russian-Belarusian Union State.

The Russian Defense Ministry’s press office reported that the practical actions of the military (troops) command and control bodies will be conducted at five firing ranges, located in the territory of the Republic of Belarus and Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast. The maneuvers on Russia’s territory will be conducted at the Khmelevka and Pravdinsky ranges in the Kaliningrad Oblast, and in the territory of Belarus the troops will drill joint military actions at the Brest, Gozhsky and Obuz-Lesnovsky ranges.

“At all the ranges of the two states’ troops will conduct joint military operations, the headquarters will command combat operations and at the practical stages with firing practice will be confirming the correctness of the decisions taken during the first phase,” the Russian Defense Ministry’s press release says.

The document says units of the Taman Guards Motorized Rifle Division of the 20th Field Army comprising over 500 servicemen have now completed the advance to the exercise area in the Brest range and started the fulfillment of the tasks to cover the Union State’s border sections to prevent terrorist groups from crossing the border. In addition, the troops of the formation “have isolated the area of supposed presence of illegal armed groups, block posts have been set up on the movement routes and public-access roads and reconnaissance and search operations in the isolation areas are being conducted.”

According to the exercise scenario, the troops of the motorized rifle formation of the Western Military District, stationed in the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, are conducting radio reconnaissance in the area of the supposed presence of an illegal armed group at the Gozhsky range with the aim of the following guidance of helicopters of the army aviation on the target. At the same time, the motorized rifle units are on constant alert to block the area and “conduct a special operation to eliminate terrorist groups.”

On September 26, 2013 at the Khmelevka range in the Kaliningrad Oblast, according to the Ministry of Defense, “a joint operation of the Regional Group of Forces (troops) of the armed forces of Russia and Belarus with the participation of the Russian naval forces will be drilled for the first time.” The exercise will also involve fighter planes and bombers, helicopters of the army aviation.

The Zapad 2013 maneuvers are a scheduled event of joint combat training of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus, held once in two years in accordance with the decision taken by the two heads of state in 2009.

Taking part in the exercise in Russia’s territory are over 9 thousand Russian and over 200 Belarusian servicemen. The maneuvers involve some 180 pieces of combat equipment, including 10 tanks, about 40 planes and 10 warships of the Baltic Fleet. In addition, 2,520 Russian troops are involved in the exercise at the Belarusian military firing ranges.

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