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Zapad-2021 strategic drills in Belarus to involve 12,800 troops — top brass

The troops include 2,500 Russian personnel and up to 50 Kazakh servicemen from the CSTO

MINSK, August 5. /TASS/. About 12,800 troops will participate in the Zapad-2021 strategic drills in Belarus, including 2,500 personnel from Russia and 50 servicemen from Kazakhstan, Chief of the Belarusian General Staff, First Deputy Defense Minister Viktor Gulevich said on Thursday.

"About 12,800 troops will participate in the drills on the territory of the Republic of Belarus, including 2,500 Russian personnel and up to 50 Kazakh servicemen from the CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization] Collective Operational Response Forces," the chief of the Belarusian General Staff informed.

The Zapad-2021 drills will involve up to 350 items of military hardware, including about 140 tanks, around 110 artillery systems and multiple rocket launchers and over 30 aircraft and helicopters. The 230th Obuz-Lesnovsky combined arms training ground, the 174th Domanovsky Air Force and Air Defense Force practice range, the 210th Ruzhansky aviation range and the Brestsky training ground will be used to practice assignments on the territory of Belarus, Gulevich specified. 

In Russia, almost 400 Belarusian personnel and over 30 items of military hardware will participate in the drills, he added.

In late 2020, Belarus officially informed the CSTO member states about the upcoming Zapad-2021 joint strategic drills.

"We have also sent out invitations to representatives of the military and diplomatic corps of foreign states accredited at the embassies of their countries in Belarus to observe the upcoming drills. In addition, media representatives will get accreditation to observe the active phase of the drills," the chief of the Belarusian General Staff said.

After the completion of the drills, the personnel, armaments, military and special hardware of the armies of the two countries will be returned to their permanent stations until September 30, he added.

The Zapad-2021 drills will run at practice ranges in Belarus and Russia on September 10-16.