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PH Army Sends Observer Delegation to the 2017 Russia-Belarus Military Exercise “Zapad-2017”

Moscow army

Maj. General Robert Arevalo, Chief of Staff of the Philippine Army, meets with Lt. General Ivan Buvaltsev, Head of the Main Directorate of Combat Training of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, at the Strategic Military Exercise of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and Republic of Belarus, at the Luzhsky Testing Range in Leningrad Oblast on 18 September 2017. They are flanked by (foreground to background) Col. William Garcia, Col. Roy Galido, Col. Roberto Capulong, Col. Glenn Cruz, Col. Alexander Guzhva, and Capt. Vasilii Geramisov. (Photo by Maj. Ranillo)

26 September 2017 MOSCOW – The Philippine Army sent a high-level delegation to observe the final stage of the Strategic Military Exercise of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and Republic Belarus codenamed “Zapad-2017,” on September 18 in Luzhsky Testing Range in Leningrad Oblast. The delegation was headed by Maj. General Robert Arevalo, Chief of Staff of the Philippine Army.

This was the first time that the Philippine Army observed a military exercise in Russia in 41 years of Philippines-Russia relations.

“The Philippine Army’s participation as observer in Zapad-2017 was an excellent opportunity for to see the Russian Armed Forces’ combat capabilities and military hardware in action. This is just the beginning of what we expect to be a robust army-to-army engagement in the years to come,” Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos D. Sorreta commented. 

Zapad is a regular exercise conducted every four years. This year’s edition ran from September 14 to 20 in various testing grounds in Russia’s Western Military District and in Belarus. The overall objective is to enhance combat readiness and interoperability of the Russian and Belarusian Armed Forces.

The scenario of Zapad-2017 was countering an incursion by extremist groups into Kaliningrad – a Russian exclave surrounded by Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the exercise involved 12,700 servicemen, around 70 aircraft (e.g. helicopters), up to 680 units of combat equipment (e.g. tanks and heavy guns), and 10 military ships and vessels from the Baltic fleet. It was a multi-agency exercise involving not just the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces of the two countries but also the Ministry of Interior, Federal Security Service, National Guard, and Ministry of Emergency Situations. END

For more information, visit www.moscowpe.dfa.gov.ph.