Translated by Ollie Richardson
The Minister of Defence of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak said that the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the country provided measures in the event of an invasion by the Russian army. According to the speculation of the official, an offensive can happen during the Russian-Belarusian exercises “West-2017”, which will take place on September 14th-20th. The head of department spoke about this on Wednesday, August 16th, reports UNIAN.
“We are monitoring the situation and aware of all the movements of Russian troops to our border. We realize what threats may arise and we will respond adequately to the existing threats and those that may be posed by the exercises,” said Poltorak.
According to him, the General Staff provided a number of measures that are adequate in regards to this threat. He added that the events on the borders of Ukraine are regarded by Kiev as unfriendly steps.
Earlier Ukrainian officials already voiced their concern because of the Russian-Belarusian drills. The former governor of the Odessa region Mikheil Saakashvili expressed the opinion that Moscow thus will take Belarus. The Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Aleksandr Turchynov said that the Russian army will continue its offensive on Poland and Lithuania.
In turn, Russian and Belarusian officials emphasized that the maneuvers have no aggressive character. The Minister of Defence of Belarus Andrey Ravkov called the speculation concerning the re-deployment on the territory of the country of Russian military equipment an attempt by “certain marginal structures to receive political dividends or to upgrade their rating due to the exploitation of the topic of Belarusian-Russian relations”.
The military of Russia and Belarus will be involved in the strategic exercises “West-2017”. Similar joint exercises were held in 2009 and 2013.
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