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Military attaches from 18 countries watching Zapad 2021 exercise in Belarus

MINSK. Sept 14 (Interfax) – Military attaches from 18 countries are watching the Zapad 2021 Russian-Belarusian exercise at the Obuz-Lesnovsky range in Belarus.

"Foreign military attaches from 18 countries, as well as observers from the CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization] and SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization] member states, delegations from the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] Executive Committee and the Secretariat of the CIS Council of Defense Ministers, and a delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross, are monitoring part of the exercise at the Obuz-Lesnovsky range," the Belarusian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

Military units and formations from the regional group of forces will deter an offensive from a mock enemy and will prepare and carry out a counterstrike, the Defense Ministry said. "Meanwhile, main tactical forces will be airdropped at the Brest range to assist forces on the offensive. A simultaneous landing in two drop zones within a limited period will considerably increase the efficiency of the landing mission," the ministry said on Telegram.

Missile forces, artillery, and tactical and army aviation will provide fire support for the offensive of the regional group of forces.

"The attacking units will receive support from aviation: Mil Mi-24 helicopters of the Air Force and Air Defense of the Belarusian Armed Forces and Kamov Ka-52 helicopters from the army aviation of the Russian Armed Forces, which will be destroying detected facilities to the benefit of forces on the offensive," the ministry said.

The joint strategic exercise of Russia and Belarus is a biannual event held on the orders of the two heads of state. Zapad 2021 is the final stage of the joint training program. It is taking place at ranges in Russia, the Baltic Sea, and five ranges in Belarus between September 10 and September 16 and involves up to 200,000 troops, 80 planes and helicopters, 760 pieces of hardware, and up to 15 ships.