Russia to conduct largest military exercise since the Cold War

Russia's high military command is about to organize the massive military exercise called Zapad 2017 starting on 14 September, which will simulate conflict with NATO forces. The exercise is meant to test the readiness and cooperation between individual armed forces’ units.

Moreover, the manuevers should also examine the level of interoperability with the forces of Belarus and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Russia has previously used military exercises as a disguise for aggression, as was, for example, the case of Georgia in 2008 or Ukraine in 2014. The exercise is preceded by a Baltic fleet training in Kaliningrad, focused on amphibious operations. Experts estimate that the exercise can involve up to 100,000 troops. NATO is concerned about the upcoming manuevers, however the US Army Europe chief Lt.Gen. Ben Hodges stated, that the Alliance will be prepared for any possible Russian aggression. In reaction, 600 US paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Division will be send to the Baltics to reinforce local NATO forces. In July, the Czech Republic also approved sending its troops to Baltics and will provide a mechanized company and a mortar squad

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