Stoltenberg asks Russia to allow NATO observers to inspect at Zapad-2017 drills
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg assumes that more servicemen than officially announced are going to take part in the upcoming Zapad-2017 (West-2017) Russian-Belarusian joint military exercise and in this regard, he has asked Moscow to ensure access to the drills for the Alliance's observers.
Based on the history of the previous exercises, there is every reason to believe that far more troops will be engaged than it is being officially stated today, Stoltenberg said at a news conference in Brussels following a NATO-Russia Council meeting.
Therefore, NATO calls on Russia to abide by the Vienna Document and allow the Alliance to carry out inspections for the purposes of transparency and observation of the drills, he said.
The Russian side briefed the participants in the NATO-Russia Council meeting on the upcoming Zapad-2017 exercise and in particular, on the number of airplanes and ships and separately, the number of Russian and Belarusian troops engaged in the exercise, Stoltenberg said.
Many NATO countries asked questions and the participants opened a discussion on the figures, Stoltenberg said.