MOSCOW, July 29. /TASS/. The novel coronavirus pandemic complicated preparations for the Army-2020 defense forum, as only 35 states out of the 133 invited have confirmed the participation of their delegations, a senior Russian Defense Ministry official said in an interview published by the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper on Wednesday.
"Difficult epidemiological situation undoubtedly complicated preparations for the forum, particularly with regard to the foreign states’ participation. Official invitations were send to defense chiefs of 133 states. By now, 35 states confirmed the participation of their delegations," said Col. Oleg Kulakovsky, the head of the exhibitions department at the Russian Defense Ministry’s Main Directorate of scientific research and engineering support of advanced technologies (innovative research).
According to Kulakovsky, at least 11 states (Armenia, Belarus, Brazil, Greece, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, China, Sri Lanka, South Africa and South Ossetia) will send high-level delegations to the event.
Four countries have already organized preparations of their national displays as part of the forthcoming military forum.
"The novel coronavirus epidemiological situation in Russia has improved. It has also stabilized in certain countries, and coronavirus restrictions are being eased. Work with foreign states continues," Kulakovsky said, adding that sanitary and epidemiological issues will be treated with full seriousness during the forum.
"The forum will be the first large-scale international exhibition in Russia in 2020, held after quarantine restrictions were lifted in Russia and worldwide," he went on.
According to the official, at least four types of preventive measures will be in place during the forum: barring people displaying symptoms of respiratory viral infection from the event, social distancing of 1.5 meters, use of personal protective equipment and disinfection.
"The entire set of precautions has been carefully thought-out, and we are convinced that it would ensure the safety of all groups of participants and visitors and will not affect the quality of the forum’s events," the official added.
The Army-2020 international military and technical forum will run next month at the Patriot military-patriotic park, the Kubinka airfield, the Alabino and Ashuluk practice ranges and in Russia’s military districts. One of the forum’s highlights will be the presentation of a unique anti-UAV system at the Ashuluk training ground in south Russia. On top of that, the forum’s business schedule lists more than 170 events.