Combat readiness essential for Republican military forces

Listening to a report by Belarus’ Defence Minister, Yuri Zhadobin, on forthcoming strategic field exercises, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko noted that such exercises by the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation — Zapad-2013 (West-2013) — present no threat to other states
By Vladimir Denisov

“Regarding assumptions that these exercises are a ‘threat from the East’ — as have been recently circulating in the West, I must emphasise the opposite. We don’t view any state as our enemy. We simply have a defence policy, as clearly stipulated by the law,” the President underlined. He notes that Belarus welcomes any action which promoting peace. “We don’t recognise threats or double standards; our foreign political line is perfectly clear. We’re acting openly, focusing on collective defence.”

Mr. Lukashenko stresses that stronger shared military security and enhanced Union State protection are priorities, as is no secret. “Accordingly, we’re developing joint regional forces from Belarus and Russia, and must train to ensure that they’re ready to meet any aggressor — from wherever they appear,” the Belarusian leader explained.

He added, “This is especially relevant in our troubled times. We’ve witnessed growing armed violence and widespread bloodshed in the world arena, so we need to be prepared. I’d like to remind you of a simple truth: armies should be trained in how to fight in order to fulfil their duty, being in a state of constant readiness to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their country. I refer to the defence capacity of the joint army of Belarus and Russia — a regional group of forces based in the western direction: our zone of responsibility.”

In 2009, the President of Russia joined Mr. Lukashenko in agreeing that joint exercises would be held annually, with Belarus and Russia taking it in turns to host; this year, Belarus is organising the event. The Head of State notes that, in recent years much has been done in the Armed Forces to develop various armed systems, forces of special operations and territorial defence forces. “We haven’t concealed the fact that we’ve updated our army, as the Russians have, so that they are better able to meet today’s threats and challenges. We’ve enhanced our military co-operation with our strategic ally Russia and with other CSTO member states, including the sharing of technology,” added the Belarusian President.

Mr. Lukashenko notes that developments in the military sphere will be tested during the forthcoming exercise, with each detail planned carefully. Having listened to the report, he approved the concept for Zapad-2013, which is expected to take place this autumn. He has asked that more attention be paid to practical training, including interaction between control agencies and the national security system.

The forthcoming exercise will feature the regional group of forces of Belarus and Russia, as well as CSTO collective rapid response forces.

Of course, we hope that conflict never rears its head and it’s fortunate that our army has not yet been obliged to prove itself in defence of Belarus but we must remain ready for any eventuality. Sadly, the world is unstable. The army exists for our protection, so it needs to keep well trained; this is why we regularly organise military manoeuvres. 
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