The military manoeuvres, called “West 2009,” taking place in Belarus, are the biggest joint military training operation by Russian and Belarusian armies since the establishment of the Union State of Russia and Belarus in 1997.
The training started on 17 September and will last until 29 September with 12,500 soldiers, 228 tanks and 470 armoured vehicles taking part. According to the mock scenario, NATO forces are attacking from the west, and a counterattack must follow.
From NRC Handelsbad: No one in the West is talking about it, but in the heart of Europe the 15,000 Russian and Byelorussian troops at the border with Lithuania and Poland are big news. They are holding an exercise this month, specially dubbed zapad, the West. For the countries of Eastern Europe, traumatised by a war and occupation, ‘zapad’ is much more than an exercise, it is intimidation, they say. (photo: Reuters)