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War games show assertive Russian Federation and could spark misunderstandings, says North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief

War games show assertive Russian Federation and could spark misunderstandings, says North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief”

The computer simulation war game exercises were denounced as a provocation from North Korea.

While NATO's increased presence in the Baltic and the threat of more severe sanctions means Russian Federation is unlikely to attempt to seize further territory from Ukraine or from neighbouring NATO members, the West will be watching cautiously.

It is planned that the exercise will involve up to 13 thousand soldiers.

The annual exercise focuses on peacekeeping and stability operations and helps promote interoperability among the partner militaries of Ukraine and the United States as well as its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, according to U.S. Army Europe.

Russian and Belarusian war games started near the Polish border on Thursday, with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation watching carefully and neighbouring countries anxious the exercises could be a precursor to military action against them. What's more, the exercises will likely be used to covertly increase Moscow's military presence in both Belarus and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

The Zapad 2017 drills are scheduled to run until September 20 in Belarus as well as on the Baltic Sea, in western Russian Federation, and in Russia's Kaliningrad region, close to the Polish border and those of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Secretary of the NSDC of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov did not rule out that the exercise Zapad-2017 may be preparing for offensive operations.

"And we've seen before, Russian Federation using military exercises as a disguise for aggressive actions against other countries; that was the case in 2008 and that was the case in 2014 when they annexed Crimea", Stoltenberg said.

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