Russia-Belarus Union Shield Drills Not Aiming To Aggravate Situation In Europe - Military

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Russia-Belarus Union Shield Drills Not Aiming to Aggravate Situation in Europe - Military

MINSK (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 14th August, 2019) Union Shield 2019, a joint military exercise organized by Russia and Belarus, will take place on Russian territory but far from European borders in a conscious effort to avoid aggravating the situation in Europe, Belarusian First Deputy Defense Minister Oleg Belokonev said on Wednesday.

The drills will be held from September 13-19 near the Russian settlement of Mulino in the Nizhny Novgorod Region, about 250 miles east of Moscow.

"Despite the increasing number of exercises of the NATO joint armed forces in Eastern Europe near the borders of the Union State [of Russia and Belarus], the joint operational exercise Union Shield 2019 will not take place at training ranges located near borders but deep inside Russian territory.

This was done deliberately so as not to aggravate the situation in Europe, and it once again confirms the desire of Belarus and Russia to reduce tensions in the region," Belokonev told reporters.

According to him, a wide range of tasks will be tested during the exercises, from protecting the state border and fighting illegal armed groups to conducting defensive and stabilizing actions.

Belokonev noted that the amount of troops and military equipment involved would not exceed the limits that prescribe mandatory monitoring in accordance with various arms control treaties. About 12,000 troops and up to 950 military hardware units, as well as up to 70 planes and helicopters will be involved in the drills.

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