Zapad 2017 military drill is purely defensive, according to Russia

  • Tomáš Krajňák
  • 1.9.2017 18:02

On 29 August, Russian Defence Ministry tried to calm fears saying that the military drills the country will hold from 14 to 20 September in Belarus, western Russia and Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, are of a purely defensive nature.

About 13,000 Russian and Belarussian troops will take part in the Zapad-2017 exercise, which is the limit under international agreements for not requiring the presence of external observers. However, NATO is worried that substantially more troops may take part than has been officially divulged and urged Moscow to be transparent. The Alliance also promised they would watch the exercises closely. As far as military equipment, around 70 jets and helicopters and 700 pieces of other hardware including tanks, artillery and rocket systems should be deployed. NATO dubbed exercise a "Trojan horse" since it fears the brought military equipment will be left in Belarus. In response to the Russian drills, the US will reinforce its air policing mission in the Baltics by sending three additional jet fighters to the usual four. Additional land troops will also be stationed. This move follows the rhetoric of US President Donald Trump who said this week that the US is very protective of the Baltics after Russian naval exercise with China in the Baltic Sea.

About author: Tomáš Krajňák

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