The opening ceremony of the Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2021 took place in the exercise area Mulino in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russia, the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry told BelTA.
The flag of the exercise and state flags of the participating states were hoisted on the parade ground of the field camp in presence of the exercise staff and all the military personnel.
During the opening ceremony Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov noted: “Such a large event is unique in many aspects. Its scale, the composition of the participating states, the number of the personnel and the hardware testify to the increased significance of the training of our armed forces. Army exercises for a coalition of countries help work out a common understanding regarding personnel training. They reinforce friendship and erase language barriers between our military personnel. They form new joint traditions among brothers in arms.”
Nikolai Pankov emphasized that the Zapad 2021 exercise is purely defensive. It is designed to teach the troops how to operate in modern conditions. It is also meant to improve operational compatibility of military command bodies of the armed forces of Russia’s allies and friendly countries.
Heads of foreign military delegations also addressed the military personnel. The ceremony concluded with a parade of the units participating in the joint exercise. Military personnel of army units of the Western Military District of the Russian Federation, representatives of the exercise staff, and personnel of the military contingents of the armed forces of Belarus, Armenia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Mongolia took part in the event.
The joint strategic exercise of the armed forces of Belarus and Russia is held every two years in accordance with the decision made by the two heads of state. The Zapad 2021 exercise represents the final stage in the joint training of the Belarusian army and the Russian one this year.
Practical actions of the troops will take place in five military exercise areas in Belarus, nine exercise areas in Russia, and in the Baltic Sea on 10-16 September. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, about 80 aircraft and helicopters, up to 760 units of military hardware, including 290 tanks, 240 artillery systems, multiple-launch rocket systems, and mortars, and up to 15 ships will be involved in the Zapad 2021 exercise in the territory of Belarus and Russia.
The maximum number of military personnel that fall within the scope of the 2011 Vienna Document on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures will not exceed 6,400 in the territory of the Russian Federation. Command and control units as well as the troops are supposed to get back to their permanent bases by mid-October, the Russian Defense Ministry said.