West 2017 military drills are open, defensive: Belarusian president

Li Jiayao

MINSK, July 27 (Xinhua) -- The West 2017 Belarusian-Russian joint exercise are open and defensive, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Thursday.

"The joint military exercise is open. We have invited a large number of observers," Lukashenko said at a meeting with senior officials of the State Secretariat of the Security Council in Minsk.

"As for all the old questions, such as the concerns of the NATO, our neighbors, and Ukraine I have visited recently, have been explained to everyone," he stressed.

The Belarusian leader also noted that the West 2017 is a defensive drill. "We will traditionally hold the military drills together with the Russian Federation," he added.

The West 2017 joint exercise will be held from September 14 to 20. The drills will involve up to 12,700 troops, of which about 3,000 are from the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.


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