Military observers from nine European countries and the United States have been in the Soviet Union to watch a major military exercise.
Military observers from nine European countries and the United States have been in the Soviet Union to watch a major military exercise. It was only the fourth time foreign observers had been invited to manoeuvres in the USSR.
SYNOPSIS: The operation was code-named Berezina after the small Russian river that delayed Napoleon's retreat from Moscow in 1812. More than 25,000 Soviet troops took part-infantry and armoured divisions like these tanks. It took place in the snow-covered countryside near the city of Minsk, capital of Byelorussia.
The observers arrived shortly after the mock combat had begun on Monday (6 February). The troops, under the command of Colonel-General Mikhail Zaitsev were divided into two groups -- southerners who were occupying defensive positions and the northerners who launched an offensive.
Observers attend such exercises in line with a Helsinki Conference agreement to see for themselves that these regular manoeuvres pose no threat to neighbouring nations.