The Defence Ministries of Russia and Belarus on October 23 approved the general idea of Zapad 2013 / West 2013 military exercise. In accordance with bilateral arrangements the joint military exercise will take place in Belorussia and Russian Federation at two multipurpose training areas. The exercises will be held in September.
“The Russian-Belarusian exercises will be conducted under the command of the Russian and Belarusian chiefs of General Staffs,” an official of the Russian Defence Ministry said.
As expected a group of forces will rehearse “interoperability of command staffs of different levels and conduct troop command and control interface”.
Under the programme both sides will practice in conducting large scale joint military operation to ensure security of the Union State.
The conceptual development of Zapad 2013 included scenario of crisis situation and escalation of a conflict, based on the exacerbation of relations between countries owing to inter-ethnic and religious conflicts, territorial claims. With that, the states at variance are hypothetical located within the actual borders of the Republic of Belarus and the three western and north-western regions of the Russian Federation.
The general exercise idea sticks to defencive concept.
According to Belarusian Defence Minister, Lieutenant-General Yuri Zhadobin Zapad 2013 confirms the high level of interaction between the two countries in defence matters. The advance of the bilateral cooperation in military security of the Union State is an important component of Belarus-Russia relations. Apart from that, the creation of common defence space is aimed at supporting peace and stability in the entire Eastern Europe region.
Even more, the Collective Rapid Reaction Force of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation will participate in the maneuvers in Republic of Belarus for the first time.
Moscow and Minsk held analogous military drills in autumn 2009. Zapad 2009 / West 2009 involved more than 12,000 military personnel, upward of 200 units of operational hardware and 100 aircraft.