I know that this has been raised by the Russian Federation already themselves as well as by several other delegations; given the relevance to the Forum for Security Cooperation of some of these issues I thought I would raise it under “Any Other Business” although I did want to take the time to raise it today.
The United States notes statements reported in the press by Russian Minister of Defense Shoygu and Deputy Minister of Defense Antonov announcing the beginning of a major Russian military exercise in the Western Military District. Citing Deputy Minister Antonov, those press reports indicated this exercise will involve over 110,000 troops – we’ve heard today 150,000 – with 38,000 being subject to the Vienna Document. We also received Russia’s February 26 Vienna Document notification regarding this exercise. This is a large military activity by any standard.
We hope that the Russian Federation will provide its OSCE partners with information to clarify the intention of this exercise, the expected course and duration of the exercise, and further clarify on the number and types of troops and equipment involved, as well as any plans to invite international observers.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
- Cross posted from the U.S. Mission to the OSCE