Lithuania accuses Russia of planning a simulation of an attack against NATO

Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis considers the upcoming joint Russian and Belarusian military exercise a simulation of an attack on NATO allies. The planned joint exercise of Russia and Belarus "Zapad 2017" is due to take place in September this year. The armies of both countries will practice manoeuvres against an imminent threat on their western border which spans the eastern flank of NATO. Although the exercise should not involve more than 13,000 soldiers, which is a set limit for military exercises without international control, the transparency of such a drill remains problematic and up to 100 000 Russian troops are expected to join the exercise, however, not all concentrated on the Russian western border. The US is placing additional warships in the Baltic sea and also takes control over NATO's air policing mission in the Baltics as a response to this potential threat.

The activities of the Russian Federation have long been a concern for NATO and, above all, for the Baltic States. The North Atlantic Alliance has responded to potential threats by placing rotating combat groups in the Baltics, which should also be reinforced by Czech soldiers. The US is also considering placing an anti-missile system in response to the constant presence of the Russian missile system Iskander-M in Kaliningrad. The tensions on the eastern flank culminate further, and despite the ongoing dialogues, it is not yet possible to find a way to warm up mutual relations.

About author: Jonáš Vlk

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