Updated at 13:48,15-08-2017

Gazeta Polska: Belarusian army practises riot suppression

charter97.org

Street fighting was one of the scenarios in the Russian-Belarusian military drills.

Kommersant (Russia) quotes extracts from Anton Rybchynski's article in Warsaw-based Gazeta Polska.

The military exercises Zapad 2013 were held under command of the Russian and Belarusian defence ministers on five firing ranges from September 20 to September 26. The drills involved more than 22,000 servicemen, more than 530 military vehicles, including about 80 tanks, over 50 artillery guns and MRLs, about 90 aircraft (Su-24, Su-25, Su-34, MiG-29, Be-200, etc), helicopters and up to ten warships of the Baltic Fleet.

"One of the scenarios of the Zapad 2013 exercises was an attack of 'terrorists' on Belarus, who penetrate deep into the country in spite of attacks of the Russian-Belarusian defence forces and occupy numerous towns. It comes to street fighting. The 'terrorists' landed on the Baltic shore under covering fire from the fleet, helicopters and fighter aircraft," the article says.

The newspaper notes that the Zapad 2013 drills might be a serious signal for NATO not only because attacks on the NATO members states were practised.

"The exercises confirmed the almost complete integration of the military forces of Russia and Belarus, or to be more precise, the incorporation of Belarusians into the Russian military forces. For Lukashenka's army, it was the biggest scheduled exercises for the last two decades involving a quarter of the military forces," the author writes.

The military exercises raised concerns of Belarus's neighbours. The authorities of Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Sweden and Estonia expressed concern about the drills. High-ranking western diplomats said the exercises practiced attacks on Belarus's western neighbours.

Many experts suppose a scenario of the controversial Zapad 2009 exercises was used. Zapad 2009 manoeuvres involving more than 12,000 servicemen were officially called defencive with the aim of ensuring strategic stability in the region, but the scenario included attacks on third countries, some sources say.