Russian Federation launches Zapad war games in Belarus

Ukraine Russia Preparing for Major War

The maneuvers, called Zapad - meaning "West" in Russian - has left neighbouring countries anxious it is a precursor to an invasion and seen North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members accuse Moscow of lying about the size of the drills.

Russia's neighbors have gotten the message, and some fear the Russians may have another, more nefarious goal in mind with this year's Zapad (Russian for "West").

Moscow insists that the size of the exercise will not cross the 13,000-troop threshold that, under Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) rules known as the Vienna Document, would require it to notify other nations and open the maneuvers to observers.

There is an information war going on for public opinion in NATO-member states too, with Western governments keen to bolster their case for increasing military spending to counter a resurgent Russian military.

"He's been playing this constant balancing act between the West and Russia", NPR's Kim says. Steps to draw up a scenario for the drills took account of modern approaches to the application of forces on the basis of modern armed-conflict experience as well as joint measures of the Russian and Belarusian Armed Forces' operational training, the statement said. After these military preparations many troops stayed in the area to participate in the subsequent war with Ukraine. So, should not concentrate on 14-20 September, because this so-called active phase, and in fact is a VIP-like part when guests arrive, pass the demonstration exercises. "The great concern is they're not going to leave", General Tony Thomas, the head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, told a security conference in July, adding, "That's not paranoia". Ben Hodges, who leads U.S. Army forces in Europe, told Reuters that "people are anxious this is a Trojan horse". Russian Federation says they will simulate assaults by "extremist groups" trying to carry out "terrorist attacks".

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Moscow officials said the exercises are in no way meant to stage attacks on other places and that the West was "whipping up hysteria" over the drills, Reuters reported.

"I can certainly say that any accusations in that respect are hardly acceptable as the [Russian] Defense Ministry always maintains the maximum possible level of transparency during exercises", Peskov told reporters in a conference call.

Sweden, meanwhile, is holding its own three-week military exercises in the Baltic Sea with 20,000 troops, including 1,000 USA soldiers.

NATO's chief Jens Stoltenberg told the BBC that Russian Federation has a history of using "big military exercises as a disguise or a precursor for aggressive military actions against their neighbors". "President Trump was also briefed about the Russian exercises, Zapad" in which has been anticipated by Western intelligence agencies that 100,000 troops would participate.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has close ties to Russian Federation, though there have been periodic disputes over trade.

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