RIA Novosti reported that President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said that Minsk's concern is caused not only by the deployment of NATO military contingents at the border with the Republic, but also by the deployment of military drones.
"The troops are tolerable. However, most modern unmanned aerial vehicles are also deployed there... they are huge, like real planes. Those are attack drones, against whom?" Lukashenko said on Thursday in Minsk at a meeting with the secretaries of the security councils of the CSTO (CIS Collective Security Treaty) member states.
He lamented that more and more units and forces, including foreign ones, are being deployed near the borders of Belarus "with undisguised operational zeal."
He also drew attention to criticism of the West over the forthcoming joint Belarusian and Russian exercise Zapad-2017 in the fall. "And they tell us: you should not conduct any exercises. No, we will conduct the exercises, because nobody will neglect the safety of the states: neither Russia, nor Belarus, nor the CSTO," Lukashenka said.
He stressed that during the exercises the armed forces are trained to perform defensive tasks, not offensive ones.
The Belarusian-Russian exercise Zapad 2017 will be held from September 14 to 20. The State Security Department and the Second Department of Operational Services under the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense prepared a report on threats to national security. They saw specific dangers posed by the Zapad-2017 exercises.
The Ministry of Defense of Belarus called the report “speculation” and refused to comment on it.