President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev visited the Baltic Fleet's Khmelyovka training area, where joint Russian-Belarusian military exercises, Zapad-2009, are currently underway

The President observed the exercises from the command post and examined models of arms and military equipment.

In particular, Mr Medvedev watched demonstrations of the Pantera Plus mobile system, used to aid sunk or damaged vessels and able to descend to a depth of up to 1,000 metres, and the KhS-1200 mobile hard-shell diving suits that allow their wearers to descend to a depth of up to 365 metres.

The President also examined a command vehicle that ensures stable command and control of troops even under fire or under radio-electronic and information warfare attack.

Speaking with servicemen who have distinguished themselves during the exercises, Mr Medvedev said that Russia would conduct all scheduled military exercises and stressed that despite the financial difficulties the country faces, money has been earmarked in the budget for naval development and building new ships over the next few years.

The second stage of the Russian-Belarusian exercises will begin on Belarusian territory on Tuesday.



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