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Zapad 2017: Russian And Belarusian Troops || The Second Phase.
Zapad 2017 is a joint strategic military exercise of the armed forces of the Russian Federation and Belarus during 14–20 September 2017, conducted in Belarus as well as in Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast and Russia′s other north-western areas.
The second phase, which started Sunday, is focused on mobile defense, going into an offensive and destroying the mock enemy. The drills are simultaneously taking part on test grounds in Belarus and Russia, as well as in the Baltic Sea.
The first day of the second phase was marked with high activity of the Russian Baltic Fleet and naval aviation. Su-24 planes from the Baltic Fleet aviation provided support to the ground troops, performing strikes from various heights, ranging from 200 meters to one kilometer. The pilots have destroyed all the life-size targets, representing command centers, fortifications, troops and hardware of the mock enemy.
Deck-deployed Ka-27PL anti-submarine helicopters have performed an exercise, involving search and destruction of a mock enemy submarine. The pilots detected the submarine, using elaborate hydro-acoustic and electronic equipment and then destroyed it with naval bombs. At the meantime, Baltic Fleet ships performed live-fire drills, striking targets, which imitated enemy ships, aircraft and shore artillery.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to attend the ongoing exercise on Monday.
“It is standard practice. It is the largest exercise. As commander-in-chief, Putin always attends one of its stages,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.
The Zapad 2017 drills drew much attention of the NATO countries long before its start, while some media outlets and politicians fueled anti-Russian hysteria amid the upcoming drills. The accusations ranged from exaggerating the number of troops which were to participate, to ideas that the exercise was Russian cover-up to launch an invasion on the neighboring countries. Russian officials have repeatedly emphasized the defensive and anti-terrorism nature of the drills.
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