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Russia's Zapad war games begin

Friday, September 15, 2017 - 00:55

Active phase of 'Zapad' drills kicks off in Russia - defence ministry. Rough cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT. NO REPORTER NARRATION. The large-scale joint Russia-Belarus military drill codenamed "Zapad-2017" kicked off in Pskov, Moscow and Kaliningrad regions, Russia's ministry of defence said. Video published on the ministry's site on Friday (September 15) showed paratroopers in Pskov region who, according to the drill scenario, were fighting armed groups that illegally crossed into the country. Another video from Moscow region also published on Friday, showed soldiers at an air defence command post. "Zapad" drills, scheduled to last until September 20, take place in Belarus, western Russia, Russia's exclave of Kaliningrad and in the Baltic Sea. NATO is closely watching the exercises and says they are larger than the 12,700 servicemen Moscow has publicized, actually numbering some 100,000 troops, and involve firing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. Russia's defense ministry reiterated on Thursday (September 14) that the exercises are of a purely defensive nature and are not a threat to any third country or group of countries. But NATO officials say the drills will simulate a conflict with the U.S.-led alliance intended to show Russia's ability to mass large numbers of troops at short notice in the event of a conflict.

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Russia's Zapad war games begin

Friday, September 15, 2017 - 00:55