Moscow's Zapad-17 Raises the Stakes for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

15 September, 2017, 00:55 | Author: Earnest Huff
  • Troops participating in Zapad 2013

And judging by the level of alarm in Europe over Russia's latest round of war games, this tactic of intimidation appears to be working just fine.

All the designated units of the Russian army have arrived in Belarus for the Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2017.

But that has not reassured countries in the region anxious that Russian Federation poses a threat. But no less important is the message these games seek to send to the world: the Russian military, almost three decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, is once again a force to be feared.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officials say they have been watching Russia's preparations for months, including the use of hundreds of rail cars to carry tanks and other heavy equipment into Belarus.

Despite NATO countries taking part in the massive Swedish drills - some of which are again taking place near Kaliningrad - the alliance has no problem slamming Russian Federation for conducting a much smaller exercise with Belarus. This was stated by President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite.

"He's been playing this constant balancing act between the West and Russia", NPR's Kim says.

"This has been overhyped by the Western media", says Vladimir Frolov, an independent Russian foreign policy analyst in Moscow. More than 10,000 have been killed in the war in Ukraine's industrial east, where the Kiev government is fighting pro-Russia forces.

Hurricane Katia slams into Mexico's Veracruz state
This rainfall will continue the risk of life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, especially in areas of mountainous terrain. Tropical Storm Bret, for example, the second named storm of 2017, reached winds of 46 miles per hour and had an ACE of 0.7.

Swedish soldiers participate in the Aurora 17 military exercise in Gothenburg, Sweden, September 13, 2017. According to the Kremlin, some 12,700 Russian and Belarusian troops will participate in the land, sea and air drills to last until September 20; other observers contend that more than 100,000 soldiers will be involved.

"We urge Russian Federation to share information regarding its exercises and operations in NATO's vicinity to clearly convey its intentions and minimize any misunderstandings", Pentagon spokesman US Army Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza told CNN.

"People are anxious this is a Trojan horse", U.S. Army Lt. Gen.

They are there to emphasise Nato's determination to defend its allies - and Russia's closest Western neighbours. He added that he had no indications that Russian Federation is planning such a move.

"We reject complaints of these exercises not being transparent", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters. "Every nation, also Russian Federation, has the right to exercise its forces but it's important this is done in a transparent way to prevent misunderstandings, miscalculations", he said. Some NATO members, including the Baltic states and Poland, have criticized a lack of transparency about the exercises and questioned Moscow's real intentions.

"Russia is the country that affects security in Europe right now with its actions - the annexation of the Crimea and continued battles in eastern Ukraine - so it is clear that we are watching very closely what Russian Federation is doing", Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces Micael Byden said, as reported by Reuters.

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