"There is a Suvalki gap separating Belarus and Russia’s Kaliningrad region [exclave], which is quite a short distance, it's Poland and Lithuania. And it's quite easy to conduct such an operation with "we-are-not-there" [little green men] in this corridor, as the events in Crimea and Donbas have shown," said Voloshyn.
Read alsoFinnish military reject request for Russian training ship visit to AlandAnother threat of these exercises he called the possibility that a certain part of Russia’s armed contingent could remain in Belarus.
At the same time, he has noted that Vladimir Putin can also claim, if needed, that there are no Russian troops in Belarus and that the armed men are not Russian regular servicemen.
Read alsoPutin seeks joint air defense with BelarusAs UNIAN reported earlier, according to official data, an active phase of the joint strategic exercise Zapad 2017 is scheduled for September 14-20, 2008. The drills on Belarusian territory envisage participation of up to 13,000 servicemen.
Read alsoNATO criticizes Russia, Belarus for avoiding transparency in Zapad-2017 drillsMinister of Defense of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak believes that the exercises can be used to launch aggression both against Ukraine and against any country in Europe that has a common border with Russia.
Read alsoRussia prepping for "big war" with West – Ukraine NSDC secretaryThe Russian defense ministry assured that the "anti-terrorist" exercises would not prepare a springboard for invading Ukraine.
Read alsoBelarus at 'war' with imaginary country of Veyshnoria - BBCAhead of the exercises, seven American fighter jets arrived in Lithuania on the air policing mission.