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Zapada-2023. Russia abandons strategic exercises

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The Zapad-2023 military exercises will not take place, according to the Monday statement by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Earlier, the British Ministry of Defense indicated the likelihood of canceling the Russian-Belarusian exercises, drawing attention to the small number of available soldiers and equipment.

– No, this year we have exercises in Ukraine – he stated during Monday’s press conference Sergei Shoiguanswering journalists’ questions about organizing the Zapad exercises.

Zapad strategic maneuvers were carried out together with Belarus every two years. Independent Belarusian media, which noted that Shoigu made a “poor joke” when talking about “exercises in Ukraine”, recalled that the Zapad-2021 exercises, organized before the armed invasion Russia to Ukraine, were the largest in the post-Soviet space in the last thirty years. About 200,000 soldiers, over 700 units of military equipment and 15 districts took part in them.

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“The Zapad-2021 maneuvers took place in September at 14 training grounds in Belarus and Russia. Also this year, they were planned for autumn,” wrote the Belarusian portal Zerkalo.

The Russian daily Kommersant noted that this year’s exercises were to be a preparation for “threats related to NATO’s expansion to the east.”

Russian-Belarusian Zapad exercises TATYANA ZENKOVICH/PAP/EPA

Reports from the British Ministry of Defense

The British Ministry of Defense previously informed about the possibility of canceling the Zapad-2023 exercises.

“The poor performance of the Russian armed forces in Ukraine highlighted the fact that the combined strategic maneuvers had limited training value and were largely of a demonstration nature. Russia probably canceled the Zapad-2023 exercises due to the insufficient number of available soldiers and equipment,” the ministry said in an intelligence update. posted on Twitter on August 28.

“There is a real possibility that the Russian leadership is also sensitive to internal criticism resulting from subsequent carefully orchestrated wartime maneuvers,” the British Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

Exercises with North Korea

Shoigu told reporters on Monday that Russia was considering conducting exercises with North Korea. – We are talking about it (joint military exercises) with everyone, including North Korea. Why not. After all, they are our neighbors, said the minister.

Also on Monday, the independent Russian-language website The Moscow Times, citing reports from The Korea Times, reported that Shoigu proposed to the regime in Pyongyang to conduct joint military maneuvers.

“Shoigu visited Pyongyang at the end of July this year. During a reception at his Ministry of Defense, he called the South Korean army ‘the strongest in the world’. According to US intelligence, the Russian minister’s goal was to conclude a new agreement on the supply of weapons necessary to continue war in Ukraine“- wrote The Moscow Times.

zerkalo.io, Kommersant, PAP, The Moscow Times

Main photo source: TATYANA ZENKOVICH/PAP/EPA



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