MINSK, Belarus, Mar 10, 2009 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Belarus and Russia will hold a large-scale military exercise in the fall, the Belarusian defense minister said Tuesday.
The exercise will involve about 13,000 troops from both countries, RIA Novosti reported.
Belarusian Defense Minister Leonid Maltsev said the war games would help test the Belarusian-Russian integrated air defense system, which was established last month.
The exercise scenario was approved by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has said Belarus is pursuing a peaceful foreign policy and "does not regard any state as an enemy," but cannot afford to have its military discounted, the Russian news service reported.
The integrated regional air defense network involves five Air Force units, 10 anti-aircraft units, technical service and support units and one electronic warfare unit. The network will be under the command of a senior Russian or Belarusian Air Force or Air Defense Force senior commander, the news service said.