President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev held a meeting on the progress of the Zapad-2009 military exercises and current plans for developing Russia's Armed Forces

The President said that the Zapad-2009 military exercises are a testing ground for joint operations between Russian and Belarusian troops with the principle goal being to coordinate command in order to resist any possible attack. The exercises are also an opportunity to build up training in preventing and cleaning up technological disasters.

Mr Medvedev stressed that the Zapad-2009 exercises are defensive in nature and that the purpose of the troops of the involved is strategic deterrence and maintaining strategic stability in the eastern European region.

Taking part in the meeting were Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Naryshkin, Presidential Aides Alexander Abramov and Sergei Prikhodko, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Sobyanin, Chairman of the State Duma Boris Gryzlov, Chairman of the Federation Council Sergei Mironov, Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Mikhail Fradkov, as well the commanders of the different branches of the armed forces and representatives of the law enforcement and security agencies.

Before the meeting began, Mr Medvedev presented Russian state decorations to 26 servicemen.



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