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Belarusian-Russian army exercise West 2013 ‘not against the West’

MINSK, 23 April (BelTA) – The Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2013 (West 2013) is not against the West, said President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko as he met with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on 23 April.

The head of state said: “If we train our armed forces, security forces to defend our common interests, the land, then we have to arrange relevant events, including exercises. I don’t understand why the West is so concerned about our regular exercise. It is not the first one and the exercise is not purely defensive, we just smoothen our cooperation, new people have emerged, we check the system that was tuned a long time ago,” remarked the head of state.

“It does not target Poland, the Baltic countries, or NATO whatsoever,” stressed Alexander Lukashenko.

“But certainly they should understand that if they try to look our way in some mean manner, we will also respond to that,” remarked the Belarusian leader.

In turn, Sergei Shoigu noted that the sides are working hard to get ready for the forthcoming exercise. In his words, the event will once again allow verifying the readiness to respond to modern challenges and will reveal what yet has to be done to ensure the security of Belarus and Russia.