The forthcoming Belarus-Russia military exercise Zapad-2017 is not meant as an attack on anyone, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday.
Foreign observers will be able to make sure see it for themselves, the head of state added.
Belarusian president met tops of the State Secretariat of the Security Council of Belarus, law enforcement bodies and national security agencies on 5 September, BelTA reports.
The head of state asked the Ministry of Defense to report on the current situation around the drills.
“We should stop making excuses, stop explaining our drills are of defensive character,” Lukashenko said.
“We have an army, and a joint Belarus-Russia army group in the western direction. And since it exists (we did not hide it from anyone), we will train it. Just in case,” Belarusian leader stated.
Alexander Lukashenko added Belarus has no plans to attack anyone.
“We have invited the observers. It’s up to them to come and watch,” the president said.
Meanwhile, Ukraine had stated earlier that it was stepping up security controls on border because of Zapad-2017 drills.
It also prepared to make joint observation flights together with the USA ahead of the military exercise.
Zapad-2017 drills will be held from 14 to 20 September. A total of 12,700 military personnel are to take part in the drills; about 10,000 soldiers will be based on the Belarusian territory. According to the plan, up to 680 combat vehicles will take part in maneuvers.
Belarus invited more than 80 international observers from the UN, OSCE, CSTO, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Poland, the Baltic States, Scandinavia and Ukraine, as well as military attaches accredited in Minsk.