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Russia-Belarus Zapad-2021 strategic drills are of defensive nature — Shoigu

Russian defense chief stressed that Russia had invited all the SCO member states to take part in the drills and it was not aimed against any country or alliance

DUSHANBE, July 28. /TASS/. The Zapad-2021 (West-2021) strategic drills that Russia and Belarus will hold in autumn are of defensive nature, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a meeting of the defense chiefs from the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on Wednesday.

"We will hold the Zapad-2021 joint Russian-Belarusian strategic exercise in September to practice measures for ensuring military security on western borders. We have invited all the SCO member states to take part in it. This exercise is solely of defensive nature and is not aimed against any country or alliance," Shoigu said.

As the Russian defense chief pointed out, "Russia has never urged and is not urging to revive the bloc-based ideology and East-West confrontation."

"We are in favor of the balanced development of interaction in the defense sphere that ensures the timely, adequate and, importantly, effective response to the entire range of security threats," Shoigu stressed.

Settling regional conflicts is an important aspect of international stability, the Russian defense chief said.

"We are actively assisting this process. Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh are vivid examples," Shoigu said.