Russia "informed" NATO about upcoming Zapad-2017 drills – Russian MFA
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov has called ungrounded accusations by NATO toward Russia in connection with the Russian-Belarusian joint military exercise Zapad-2017 (West-2017), RIA Novosti reports.
"Those countries that strive to ultimately aggravate the situation on the eve of the exercises, throwing unfounded accusations against Russia, are those who impede the contacts between our countries' military," he said, according to RIA.
He noted that Russia "had most widely informed NATO about the upcoming exercises."
The active phase of the Russian-Belarusian Zapad-2017 military exercises is scheduled for September 14-20. Over 13,000 servicemen are expected to be involved in the drills, according to preliminary data.
Read alsoRussia may launch aggression during Zapad 2017 drills under pretext of protecting Russian speakers – Gen. MuzhenkoSecretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov said on August 22 that the actual number of participants in the strategic command and staff strategic exercises of the Russian Armed Forces Zapad-2017 would reach 240,000 people.
Minister of Defense of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak believes that the exercises can be used as a pretext to launch aggression both against Ukraine and against any country in Europe that has a common border with Russia.
Read alsoBelarus at 'war' with imaginary country of Veyshnoria - BBCThe Russian defense ministry assured that the "anti-terrorist" exercises would not prepare a springboard for invading Ukraine.