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Putin heads to Grodno despite local airport doesn't receive planes over strong fog

September 26, 2013, 13:17 UTC+3

The airplane Antonov An-148 with journalists from the Kremlin pool onboard failed to land at the airport in the city of Grodno over bad visibility

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MOSCOW, September 26 (Itar-Tass) - Russian President Vladimir Putin does not cancel a visit to the city of Grodno, Western Belarus, despite the fact that the local airport did not receive any airplanes over a strong fog on Thursday morning, Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov told Itar-Tass.

“The trip remains on the presidential agenda. The president will arrive in Grodno as long as the weather allows him to do it,” Peskov said.

The airplane with the journalists from the Russian presidential pool, who are accompanying the president during a trip to the Belarusian firing range Gozhsky, where the joint strategic military exercises Zapad-2013 is being held, failed to arrive in Grodno on time. The airplane Antonov An-148 with the media people onboard failed to land at the airport in the city of Grodno over bad visibility.

The airplane has been flying over Grodno for about 90 minutes. The commander of the airplane hoped that the thick fog will vanish and it will be possible to make a landing, but this did not happen and the crew decided to direct the airplane to the neighbouring airport in Minsk, Belarus’ capital.

The airplane An-148 landed successfully in Minsk and was refuelled. Then it departed from Minsk to Grodno, Western Belarus.

The joint Russian-Belarusian strategic war games Zapad-2013 are being held for six days at five firing ranges in two countries and the defence ministers of the countries are personally in command of them.

The final stage of the military exercise is being held at the Belarusian firing range Gozsky and the Russian firing range Khmelevka in the Russian most westerly Kaliningrad region on Thursday.

Putin and Belarusian counterpart Aleksander Lukashenko will visit the firing range Vozhsky, where they will inspect the current stage of the war games for about 50 minutes. On Thursday afternoon, Putin is expected to arrive at the firing range Khmelevka to inspect the progress of the war games there.

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