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Developments in Iraq Will Shape Military Exercises in Belarus - 9 April, 2003

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko approved on Wednesday the plan of complex operational exercises "Clear Sky" to be held early in October this year. According to him, the exercises' idea was corrected by the developments in Iraq.

"The current war in Iraq will determine the way the exercises will be held to develop defence against mass attack of a possible enemy," Lukashenko told journalists during his visit to a military aircraft repair factory in Baranovichi. According to him, the exercises will model a scenario of aggression against the country and its efficient repulse.

The president said that various arms (including 80 aircraft) would be involved in the exercises. The Belarussian leader believes the exercises will be efficient. "By the end of the year, the armed forces of Belarus will become significantly stronger," said Lukashenko pointing out that, according to Western estimates, the combat-readiness of the Belarussian army is the highest in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Lukashenko added that Belarus did not plan a war against anyone and no one was going to fight against it.