Medvedev praises Zapad-2009 exercises

KHMELEVKA, Kaliningrad region, September 28 (Itar-Tass) -- President Dmitry Medvedev praised how the Zapad-2009 military exercises were organised and held.

He believes that exercises "like the ones that I watched today and that continue" have not been held in a long while.

The "next episode of the military exercises" will be held in Belarus on Tuesday, September 29, together with the Belarusian Armed Forces.

"Everything is held at a very high level. But I want to emphasise that the exercises have a defensive goal. We are not threatening anyone. The Armed Forces should be not in a disassembled but in operable state," the president said.

"The more often such events are held, the better for keeping the Armed Forces in proper shape," he added.

Prior to the meeting, Medvedev inspected new military hardware, including a control vehicle designed to "provide officials with information required for troop control anywhere and anytime".

He also took a look at a command and staff vehicle designed to ensure steady and stealthy troop control when carrying out combat missions both during a fire attack and warfare. It can also be used during emergency response operations.

The purpose of the joint Russian-Belarusian military exercises is to verify the possibilities of Belarus and Russia to ensure military security of the Union State, Belarusian Defence Minister Leonid Maltsev said earlier.

The Zapad-2009 exercises began in Belarus on September 18.

"We have an excellent opportunity to enhance the teamwork of military command, field and airborne training of formations and military units of the armed forces of the two countries that are part of the Belarusian-Russian regional group of troops. These objectives are to be achieved during the fulfilment of the tasks to perfect the system of control of the regional group of troops, increase its interoperability and interaction between the Russian and Belarusian components of the group," Maltsev said.

The Belarusian minister noted that the main objective of the exercises was to verify the possibilities of Belarus and Russia to ensure military security of the Union State, and their readiness to repel possible aggression, and learn to use the regional group of troops.

"The exercises are a logical continuation of the exercises held in recent years. First of all, they are aimed at verifying the functioning of the joint defence of the Union State, and its capability to resolve the talk of ensuring national and regional security," Maltsev said.

Taking part in the war games are some 12,600 troops, including 6,500 Belarusian troops, 6,000 Russian servicemen and some 30 Kazakh military.

The exercise will involve 103 aircraft and helicopters, some 470 armoured vehicles, 228 tanks, 234 self-propelled and towed artillery guns, mortars and missile salvo systems.

The Zapad-2009 exercises consist of two stages. During the first stage, held on September 18-22, the troops will be preparing for a defensive operation.

During the second stage, the main attention will focus on the effectiveness of the functioning of the unified regional air defence system of Belarus and Russia to repel air strikes, and control of the troops' defensive operations.



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