Friday, September 18, 2009

Zapad 2009: A Threat to Eastern Europe's Security

The headline: Large-scale military exercise begins in Belarus

The first stage of the large-scale exercise will take place between September 18 and 22 and will focus on preparations for a defensive operation by the Belarusian-Russian Regional Group of Forces.

At the second, final stage, which will be held between September 23 and 29, the involved troops will practice repelling air strikes, while the management of military units during efforts to retain defensive positions also will be practiced.

The maneuvers are expected to involve some 12,600 military servicemen, including some 6,500 Belarusian army personnel, around 6,000 Russian army staff and roughly 30 Kazakh servicemen. The number includes 1,800 reservists called up for the exercise.

Taking part in the wargame are a group of Russian officers serving with the Joint Command of the Belarusian-Russian Regional Group of Forces, the 20th Army of the Moscow Military District, the Russian Air Force, the Military Transport Aviation Command, and the 98th Paratroops Division.

The exercise involves staff of the Belarusian interior, emergency management, health and transport ministries, the Committee for State Security and the State Border Committee.

This is a clear maneuver by Russia to intimidate its neighbors namely Latvia,the Baltics and Eastern Europe.

This provocative move is being done in conjunction with Obama's decision to dismantle plans for the missile defense system in Eastern Europe.

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