11 Oct 2019 13:48

Lukashenko suggests Belarus, Russia ensure their security during NATO exercise in Poland

MINSK. Oct 11 (Interfax) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to consider ways of ensuring security of both countries during the large-scale NATO exercise in Poland.

"There is no clarity about this exercise. Perhaps, the Russian president and I should think about ways to ensure our [countries'] security. The exercise will have about 30,000 participants. That's a lot," the Belarusian state-run news agency BelTA quoted Lukashenko as saying at the CIS summit on Friday.

"For instance, we in Belarus are already working on it," Lukashenko said.

"For some reason, NATO has decided to hold a large-scale exercise near our borders in a few months and to engage thousands of troops, which it has never done before. That will happen in Poland and the Baltic republics. It's not normal. This does not bring peace in Europe or help prevent future conflicts," Lukashenko said.

The Associated Press news agency said earlier, citing the U.S. European Command, that the massive exercise involving about 40,000 troops from the United States and other countries will take place in ten European countries, including Germany, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Georgia, in the spring of 2020. Most of the training will be done in Germany and Poland. Servicemen from 18 states will be involved in the exercise.

The Defender Europe 2020 exercise will take place in April-May 2020. According to the U.S. European Command, it will help maintain NATO's combat preparedness and deterrence of potential enemies.