Warsaw wary of Moscow's war games underway

Warsaw wary of Moscow's war games underway”

As the Russia-Belarus planned drills have prompted several eastern North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member states' claims that the war games allegedly pose a "threat" to their security despite the fact that the alliance's military observers have been invited to the exercise, the Kremlin has commented on Putin's upcoming visit to the Zapad-2017 training ground.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, infantry units, tank units, and artillery units together with air defense forces of the Western Military District are working together with units of the Belarusian army in the above-mentioned exercise areas to protect defensive positions, repulse attacks, block and destroy the imaginary enemy.

Ukraine, locked in a conflict with Russia-backed separatists, is conducting its own military exercises, called "Unflinching Tenacity, " and neutral Sweden has begun exercises with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation that involve 19,000 troops.

The spokesman added that Putin would observe the course of the strategic exercise at a training ground within his visit to attend a stage of the Russian-Belarusian military exercises in Russia's northwestern Leningrad region on September 18. No one in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation expects anything like that to happen this time.

Military officials in Belarus have sought to calm Western fears about major war games with Russian Federation involving thousands of troops, tanks and aircraft, just hours before they are due to get underway.

In a statement, the Pentagon said that while Russian Federation and Belarus had taken some steps towards providing transparency, there were concerns about the official estimate of troop numbers.

The last time Russian Federation held a Zapad drill, in 2013, it used some of the forces involved to capture the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine the next year.

Moscow said it was the West that was threatening stability in eastern Europe, because North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has put a 4,000-strong multinational force in the Baltics and Poland.

"We reject complaints of these exercises not being transparent", Peskov said in a conference call with reporters. They also see a larger strategic goal: to demonstrate to USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders the high cost of defending the Baltics and thus bringing into question the viability of the alliance.

A Russian helicopter flies over a training site Tuesday in Belarus
A Russian helicopter flies over a training site Tuesday in Belarus

Exercises involving 13,000 or more troops are subject to mandatory inspections.

"It is a normal practice for any country to hold such exercises".

"The degree of mobilization is really impressive", Soloch said on private Radio Zet.

In Minsk, Col Vladimir Makarov, a Belarusan military spokesman, said that all 3,000 Russian military personnel in the country would leave when the war games conclude on Wednesday.

"We are anxious about this drill".

There is also unease in Kiev.

The military exercise is called Zapad 2017, which means "west" in Russian, and it has been used earlier for military drills conducted by the eastern giant in 1981 and 1999.

Information for this article was contributed by David Filipov, Ishaan Tharoor and Michael Birnbaum of The Washington Post; and by Yuras Karmanau of The Associated Press.

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