Krassimir Ivandjiiski
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Russia and Belarus begin active phase of huge war games


Russia and Belarus begin active phase of huge war games

  

 

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia and ex-Soviet ally Belarus on Friday launched the active phase of vast military exercises involving 200,000 personnel that have alarmed Ukraine and some NATO nations.

The "Zapad-2021" war games, taking place on Russia's and Belarus's western flanks, are due to run until next Thursday. Moscow released footage of warships and tanks opening fire and fighter jets taking off.

© Reuters/BelTA Opening of Zapad-2021 military exercise in Brest Region

The manoeuvres, the culmination of a three-month exercise, are held every four years.

At talks with his Belarusian counterpart on Thursday, President Vladimir Putin denied the exercises were directed against any foreign power, but said they were entirely logical given what he said was increasing NATO activity near Russia's borders and those of its allies.

© Reuters/BelTA Opening of Zapad-2021 military exercise in Brest Region

 

© Reuters/BelTA Opening of Zapad-2021 military exercise in Brest Region

 

© Reuters/Russian Defence Ministry Opening of Zapad-2021 military exercise in Nizhny Novgorod Region

Putin and Lukashenko are due to inspect the exercises personally, according to Belarusian state media, though it was not clear when that would happen.

© Reuters/HANDOUT Opening of Zapad-2021 military exercise in Nizhny Novgorod Region

Russia's Defence Ministry said the active phase of the drills would take place at nine sites in Russia and five sites in Belarus. The exercises involve 200,000 personnel, 80 planes and helicopters, 290 tanks and 15 naval ships, it says.

Military personnel from Armenia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia are also due to participate.


 



 

 
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