From ITAR-TASS: The Zapad 2013 (West 2013) joint strategic exercise of the armed forces of Russia and Belarus will be launched in the two countries on Friday , the press office of the Russian Defense Ministry told Itar-Tass. “During the maneuvers, which will be held at two Belarusian and three Russian firing ranges, including in the Kaliningrad Oblast, as well as in the Baltic Sea, the sides will drill the preparation and use of the regional group of troops (forces) for ensuring military security of the Union State,” the Defense Ministry said. “The exercise participants are to drill interoperability of the staffs of various levels, as well as to carry out linking of the weapons and troops command and control systems.”
The ministry emphasized that the sides will also check the provisions of new statutory documents, developed in the armed forces of Russia and Belarus for the joint employment of troops.
At the first phase of Zapad 2013, the joint command will pay attention to the planning of the employment of the regional group of forces, command and control of troops during their deployment, blocking of the areas of activities of illegal armed groups, build up of the Air Force and Air Defense troops. At the second phase, the issues of command and control of troops in joint actions of the military command and troops at ranges will be addressed. The maneuvers will last until September 26.
From RIA Novosti: About 12,000 Russian servicemen will take part in joint biannual military exercises of Russia and Belarus beginning on Friday. . . .
Observers from over 60 states will attend the two-stage drills, which will also involve “rapid-reaction” units from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).