Russia-Belarus maneuvers concern top NATO official
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.
Belarusian soldiers aim their antiaircraft gun Thursday at a training ground in Belarus during war games with Russian soldiers.