The two presidents will visit the Gozhsky test ground in Belarus and the Khmelyovka test ground in Russia, where the Russian-Belarusian Union State’s joint military contingents will conduct a planned exercise involving operations against illegal armed groups.
Strategic exercises on this scale have been conducted since 2009, in accordance with a decision by the two presidents to hold them once every two years. The first such exercise (Zapad-2009) took place in Belarus. The second, (Union Shield-2011), took place in 2011 at the Europe’s largest test ground, the Gorokhovets test ground in Nizhny Novgorod Region in Russia.
The Zapad-2013 will be the first strategic exercise to take place simultaneously in both countries. Joint operations will be carried out at five test grounds, three in Belarus and two in Russia, giving a unique opportunity to test military coordination between various units in different conditions.
The exercise scenario that will be played out at the Gozhsky test ground in Belarus involves joint resistance to an armed group attempting to enter the Union State’s territory by land. The Russian and Belarusian forces will conduct a training operation to counter a terrorist attack from the sea at the Khmelyovka test ground in Kaliningrad Region.
Following the exercise’s operations phase, Mr Putin will hold a videoconference on the results of comprehensive inspections of mobilisation readiness at a number of civilian ministries. The inspections are being organised at Mr Putin’s instruction by a Defence Ministry commission and are timed to coincide with the Zapad-2013 exercises.