Major Russian, Belarusian military exercises near Latvia's borders in September

A joint Russian-Belarusian military exercise "Shield of Unity 2019" will take place in the the Western Military District of Russia, at a proving ground in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast September 13 to September 19, the Press Department at the Latvian Defense Ministry said.

According to official information, about 12,000 troops will participate in the exercise, including around 8,000 Russian troops and more than 4,000 Belarussian troops.

The military exercise will also involve more than 230 tanks, 240 artillery systems and about 70 military aircraft.

In turn, Russian Armed Forces' military exercise "Center 2019" will take place on the Central Military District proving grounds September 16 to September 21.

About 128,000 soldiers, more than 20,000 military vehicles and equipment units, about 600 military aircraft and 15 warships are expected to be deployed for the military exercise "Center 2019". Soldiers from China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will also participate in the exercise.

Meanwhile in Latvia, from September 13 to 15, the National Armed Forces will be staging the "Namejs 2019" at various locations across Vidzeme region to assess the ability of local units to respond to hybrid threats. 

The scenario includes Latvian and Estonian Armed Forces soldiers dressed in civilian clothing with a distinctive badge and the public is being urged "not to worry about seeing soldiers and national guards moving along streets, roads and forests" and putting equipment in place. Drivers are also being asked to cooperate when they see military columns on the move.

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