Aleksandr Lukashenko takes part in joint army exercise of Belarus and Russia Zapad 2013

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On 26 September President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko took part in the final phase of the Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2013.

Upon arriving at the firing range Gozhsky, which is located 15km far from Grodno, the Belarusian head of state went to an auxiliary command post of the regional military force. The President was informed about the scheme that had been developed and the options the Belarusian and Russian military units could use for the sake of strategic dissuasion of an aggression against the Union State of Belarus and Russia.

At the auxiliary command post of the 20th army of the Western Military District of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation the Belarus President was made familiar with the general procedure for using the army as part of the regional military force during a rising threat of an aggression. Aleksandr Lukashenko was also informed about the tasks that the Russian part of the regional military force had to take care of in association with units of the Belarusian army, border service agencies, and territorial troops during the special operation of the regional military force.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin arrived at the firing range after that. The heads of state went to an observation post to watch the combat operations. The firing range was used to practice interaction between motorized infantry and mobile units of the Belarusian and Russian armies, territorial troops, internal troops of the Interior Ministry and the Emergencies Ministry of Belarus, assault aircraft and combat helicopters as they carried out missions involving the protection of the state border, search for and elimination of recon and diversion groups and illegal armed units.

Several tactical episodes were played out at the firing range.

The exercise represented an opportunity to test, verify the feasibility of military theory products in practice. New armaments and materiel of Belarusian make were used for the exercise, including a computerized remote-control observation and firing system ADUNOK and the Belarusian automated tactical control system Combat System: Soldier. The latter is designed to improve informational interaction of an individual serviceman in a unit and improve his mobility thanks to modern materials used for protective gear.

The Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2013 [West 2013] took place on 20-26 September. Zapad 2013 was a defensive exercise meant to confirm Belarus’ policy aimed at building up the regional security and adherence to allied commitments with Russia. The exercise involved two phases. As the concept of the present exercise was worked out, it focused on modern approaches to using troops in view of the experience of armed conflicts of recent years, combat training measures, and troops application forms and methods that have been worked out by the Belarusian and Russian armies. The concept of the exercise envisaged a crisis situation and an unfolding conflict. The warring sides were located within real borders of Belarus and three adjacent oblasts of the Russian Federation.

The practical part of the army exercise was held at six firing ranges in Belarus and in Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast. The tactical episodes were built around units of the Belarusian and Russian armies, which belong to the regional military force, acting together to safeguard and defend military installations, eliminate diversionary and recon units of the aggressor and illegal armed units, and deal with consequences of man-caused emergencies.

The exercise involved not only Belarusian and Russian military but also military units of Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan within the framework of the exercise Interaction 2013 of the Collective Rapid Response Forces of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

The exercise involved 12,900 military personnel (slightly over 10,000 Belarusian military, about 2,500 Russian military, and about 300 personnel from other CSTO states). The exercise used about 350 armored vehicles, including some 70 tanks, over 50 artillery units and MLRS, over 50 aircraft and helicopters. In Russia during the exercise the Belarusian army was represented by about 200 personnel of the 103rd Independent Mobile Brigade.

Foreign observers and military attaches were also present at the firing range and highly praised the exercise.

Once the action at the Gozhsky firing range was over, the presidents went to Kaliningrad Oblast where at the firing range Khmelevka the final phase of the Belarusian-Russian army exercise West 2013 was also taking place.

The heads of state observed an episode of the joint operation carried out by the Baltic Fleet, the 1st Command of the Air Force and Air Defense of the Russian army and the 350th Independent Mobile Battalion of the 103rd Independent Mobile Brigade for Special Operations of the Belarusian army.

Belarusian and Russian army units had to carry out missions to eliminate illegal armed units, who had captured part of the shore with small populated communities.

These makeshift communities had been built in Kaliningrad Oblast specifically for the exercise. Dozens of models of residential houses, schools, and shopping centers had been erected, the streets had been fitted with models of automobiles and armored vehicles.

In accordance with the exercise’s concept Belarusian special operations units worked together with the Russian army to storm the shore on board of the hovercraft Mordovia, engaged and destroyed the terrorists.

For the first time the exercise practiced multiservice interaction of the regional military force of the Russian and Belarusian armies as well as units of the Russian Navy.

State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus Leonid Maltsev noted that the exercise was arranged for the sake of improving control systems and ways to use the armed forces. He underlined that military exercises and the army are not designed to wage wars but to prevent them.

“We hide nothing. The exercise’s concept is purely defensive and takes care of the security and stability of our country,” said Leonid Maltsev. “Don’t come looking for covert sense in the exercise. Being friends with neighbors is what our policy is. We want stability in our territory”.