Issue for the Exercise

In early March, the Russians did a snap incpection of some of the units of the National Guard of Russia.  Based upon the pattern of late 2016 exercises, we can expect mobilization of non-traditional military units.  Question is whether or not this will include the National Guard of Russia in Zapad-2017.

Belarusian, Russian armies conducting tabletop exercise
13.03.2017 | 15:40

MINSK, 13 March (BelTA) – Belarusian and Russian military personnel are busy conducting a joint tabletop exercise, BelTA learned from the website of the Belarusian Defense Ministry.

The joint staff exercise involving the joint command of the regional Belarusian-Russian army taskforce is scheduled to take place on 13-17 March in accordance with this year's training program. Oleg Belokonev, Chief of the General Staff of the Belarusian army, Belarusian First Deputy Defense Minister, supervises the exercise.

The exercise is taking place at stationary command posts. It is part of preparations for the joint strategic exercise Zapad 2017 that will take place in Belarus in September.

Participants of the tabletop exercise practice ways of using the regional Belarusian-Russian army taskforce to ensure the security of the Union State of Belarus and Russia. The exercise is supposed to improve the cohesiveness of military control bodies and the compatibility of the joint command personnel as they work with other military units of Belarus.

The exercise involves departments of the Belarusian Defense Ministry and the General Staff, representatives of central government agencies of Belarus, territorial defense staffs, and representatives of Belarusian and Russian army units.


16:45 13.03.2017noindexGet short URL/noindex  Sputnik

Joint Zapad-2017 Russian-Belarusian military exercises should be conducted in full compliance with the Vienna Document on confidence and security-building measures to avoid the escalation of tensions in the region, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday.


Col. Sam Gardiner, USAF (ret) to_________________
Details emerging about observation, exact dates, size and units involved. Copied below.

In my mind, the most significant item in the announcement is that it will involve the 1st Guards Tank Army. This unit did not exit in Zapad 2013; it was formed from the 20th Combined Army Army. What is significant here is that the 1st includes the 4th Guards Tank Division (a brigade in 2013). This is the unit that most likely has the Suwalski Gap mission.

There are probably two armies in the Russian re-invasion of the Baltic plan, the 20th Guards Combined Army Army and the 1st. The 20th would have the Estonia and Latvia mission while the 1st would have the Poland/Lithuania mission.

In Zapad 2013, the Russians were not happy with the five-day closing time of the 4th Guard Tank Brigade. I'm certain movement time will be important in September.

The other important point in the article is the scope of the exercise, from Kola to Belarus. Not much question in my mind that this is the Russians will exercise the full plan for the re invasion of the Baltic States.


Lukashenko calls for ‘transparency’, consents to NATO observing Belarus-Russia drills
MINSK, March 20. /TASS/. Joint military exercises by Russia and Belarus codenamed West 2017 will be held from September 14 to 20, involving about 3,000 Belarusian military, Belarusian Defense Minister Andrey Ravkov told reporters on Monday.

The minister said Moscow plans to send about 3,000 military and about 280 items of military equipment for the joint drills to be held in Belarus. "Aircraft, involving up to 25 Russian military planes, will also take part in the drills," he said.

"Everything is going as planned," the minister noted. "The scope of this exercise is enromous - from the Kola direction in the Arctic zone to Belarus."

"The total number of troops that will be involved in the exercise will not exceed the parameters stipulated by the Vienna document of 2011, no more than 13,000 military," he specified.

Ravkov said Belarus will furnish seven firing grounds and areas for the regional grouping of forces, which includes the Armed Forces of Belarus and the 1st tank army of the Russian Western Military District. Some tank units will take part in the military drills.

Earlier, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko gave his seal of approval to event’s plans. According to the minister, the president emphasized that the upcoming drills were aimed at training the regional group of forces that protect the territory of the Union State of Russia and Belarus on its western periphery.

The top Belarusian military said the military would be polishing up key elements of defense.

He said Western partners are interested in monitoring the exercise. "We will send invitations 50 days prior to the exercise’s launch. The requirements requested by the western partners will be met," the minister added.