The Kremlin said Putin’s trip to a military exercise “Zapad-2017”

Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin on 18 September will visit the Russian-Belarusian exercises “West-2017” in the Leningrad region. This was reported by press Secretary of the President Dmitry Peskov on Friday, September 15, reports TASS.

A Kremlin spokesman said that the President “will observe the exercise from the command post”. Peskov also stressed that the decision of the Russian leader to visit military maneuvers not related to the concern of Western countries in connection with their conduct: “Putin always attends [these events] as [the Supreme] commander.”

Yesterday the Deputy Minister of defense of Russia Alexander Fomin said that the exercises “West-2017” are completely peaceful and defensive in nature, and their name means Western part of Russia, not the West.

Ukrainian and Baltic politicians have repeatedly expressed concern about the upcoming maneuvers. Thus, on 13 September the Minister of internal Affairs of Latvia Richard Kozlowski urged residents of the country during the Russian-Belarusian exercises to be active and alert. On 16 August the Minister of defence of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak said that Kyiv is foreseen measures in case of invasion of the Russian army.

Joint exercises of Russia and Belarus “West-2017” held from 14 to 20 September. Such exercises conducted by Moscow and Minsk on a regular basis. This year they will participate to 13 thousand soldiers.