Lukashenka: Objectives of Zapad 2017 accomplished

The objectives and tasks of Zapad 2017 have been accomplished in full, Alyaksandr Lukashenka told reporters on Wednesday, after observing a mock battle on the final day of the large-scale Belarusian-Russian military exercise.

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"We have showcased the capability of the Armed Forces of Belarus and Russia to defend the interests of our states," Mr. Lukashenka said, speaking at a training ground in the Minsk region.

Mr. Lukashenka stressed that the exercise had been used to train not only troops but also the system of territorial defense. "The results of the exercise have yet to be summed up but the task has been accomplished in general," he said. "That was a demonstration of our capabilities, everything was on a very high level."

He added that Zapad 2017 was not a "show exercise."

Mr. Lukashenka revealed that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin had originally planned to observe the maneuvers together but later agreed to do that separately.

"We earlier planned to do that together but later decided to get a wider view of the maneuvers," he said.

"And what if a shell struck us [if we were together]? Both of us would be dead," he said in what the reporters interpreted as a joke.