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Putin, Lukashenka Observe Joint Military Exercise

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left, front) and Belarusian counterpart Aleksandr Lukashenka (center, front), with Lukashenka's son alongside them, visit the joint war games Zapad-2013 at the Gozhsky firing range in Grodno on September 26.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka have watched massive joint military exercises involving more than 22,000 troops.

The six-day West- 2013 exercise was held at five testing grounds, three in Belarus and two in Russia.

It also involved more than 500 armored vehicles and about 90 aircraft along with ships of Russia's Baltic Fleet.

On the final day of the exercise on September 26, the war games were held near the city of Hrodna in western Belarus and in Russia's westernmost Kaliningrad region.

Russia and Belarus regularly conduct joint military exercises, but this was the first time the war games are held simultaneously in the two countries.

Lukashenka attended the exercise along with his 9-year-old son, who donned army fatigues.

Based on reporting by AP, ITAR-TASS, and Interfax