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Belarus invites Ukraine and NATO to monitor West-2017 military drills

Joint drills involving the Russian military will take place in September

MINSK, August 22. /TASS/. Minsk has invited seven states and a number of international organizations, including NATO, to monitor the West-2017 Belarusian-Russian joint military drills, the Belarusian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Based on the principles of good-neighborliness and reciprocity, as well as in accordance with the 2011 OSCE document on confidence-and security-building measures and bilateral agreements on additional confidence-and security-building measures, observers from seven countries - Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden and Norway - have been invited to the event," the statement reads.

Besides, diplomats and military attaches accredited to the Belarusian Defense Ministry have also been invited to monitor the military exercises, as well as representatives of international organizations, such as the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), NATO, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

"In order to provide the public with full and timely information about the West-2017 drills, the monitoring will be arranged in strict compliance with national laws and international agreements," the statement adds.

According to the Belarusian Defense Ministry, journalists from dozens of countries will cover the military exercises.

The West-2017 military drills, scheduled to take place at six training ranges in Russia and Belarus on September 14-20, will involve around 12,700 troops (with around 10,200 of them deployed to Belarus) and nearly 680 pieces of military hardware.