Rus­sia-Be­larus ma­neu­vers con­cern top NATO of­fi­cial

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - WORLD -

A se­nior NATO of­fi­cial says there is rea­son to be con­cerned about the largescale Za­pad 2017 mil­i­tary ma­neu­vers be­ing con­ducted now by Rus­sia and Be­larus, since they could be seen as “a se­ri­ous prepa­ra­tion for big war.”

Gen. Petr Pavel, head of NATO’s Mil­i­tary Com­mit­tee, said Satur­day that NATO is in­creas­ing ef­forts to re-es­tab­lish the mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary com­mu­ni­ca­tions with Rus­sia to avoid any “un­in­tended con­se­quences of po­ten­tial in­ci­dents dur­ing the ex­er­cise.”

The de­fense chiefs of NATO mem­ber coun­tries were hold­ing their an­nual con­fer­ence this year in the Al­ba­nian cap­i­tal of Tirana to dis­cuss fight­ing ter­ror­ism, the sit­u­a­tion in the West­ern Balkans and the new U.S. strat­egy on Afghanistan.

The Za­pad war games, be­ing con­ducted this year mostly in Be­larus, run un­til Sept. 20 and re­port­edly in­volve 5,500 Rus­sian and 7,200 Be­laru­sian troops.

The As­so­ci­ated Press

Be­laru­sian sol­diers aim their an­ti­air­craft gun Thurs­day at a train­ing ground in Be­larus dur­ing war games with Rus­sian sol­diers.

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