Belarusian Head of Information of the Ministry of Defence, Vladimir Makarov, held a press conference in Minsk, discussing the Zapad-2017 joint military drills with Russia. Makarov said that Belarus “seeks to prevent the unleashing of an armed conflict, the destabilisation of the situation in the region, and Russia, in accordance with the current regulatory framework, provides political support... Еще, financial, military-technical and military assistance to it.” He added that Zapad-2017’s main goals “are to improve the interoperability of staffs at different levels.” The joint military drills take place as Sweden and the USA embark upon their own joint drill with the Aurora 17 Military exercises. Up to 12,700 troops, 70 aircraft, 680 units of military hardware, including about 250 tanks, 200 pieces of artillery, rocket launchers and mortars, as well as up to ten warships are participating in the drills. The drills will take place under the overall supervision of the chiefs of General Staff of the armed forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus until 20 of September. Zapad-2017, which is the largest army training event this year, is the final stage of the training programme between the two militaries.