Belarus denied the information that the exercise involved one hundred thousand military
Sep 17 2017 by Desiree Burns
Russian President Vladimir Putin is going to attend the joint Russia-Belarus "Zapad" 2017 military drills which have recently started, the Kremlin has confirmed.
Russian leaders have called the criticism of their drills while larger exercises are being held outside their borders as an example of Western hypocrisy. Russia is in the middle of one of its largest military expansions in decades, and the Russia-NATO relations have been at its worst since the decades-old Cold War.
But Russia sees itself hemmed in by a hostile, expanding force, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to prevent revolutions in the former Soviet region similar to the 2014 rebellion that established a pro-Western government in Ukraine. This is the first stage of the exercise where assault forces and intelligence units continue to search for subversive groups of the conventional enemy and various Illegal formations. Western worries about the planned maneuvers have ranged from allegations that Russian Federation could use them to permanently deploy its forces to Belarus to fears of a surprise attack on the Baltics.
Zapad 2017 has been described as a possible "Trojan Horse" in which the Russians could launch significant military action.
The war games are scheduled to kick-off Thursday evening.
In particular, he recalled, the total number participating in the exercise, about 12.7 thousand, while in the territory of Belarus in the exercise involved about 10 thousand people. The week-long war exercise has raised concerns among Western observers, who feel that the military game will be used by Russian Federation to strengthen its grip over the Baltic region.
"In response to this uncertainty, the United States has built a joint, persistent rotational presence of air, land, and sea presence in the region to support our Allies".
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Russian Federation on Thursday began major joint military exercises with Belarus along the European Union's eastern flank - a show of strength that has rattled nervous North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members.
Russian and Belarusian war games that have started near the Polish border are created to intimidate Warsaw and the West, Poland's defence minister has said.
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.
NATO, which conducted its own exercises involving 25,000 service members from 20 nations in Europe this summer, has stationed four battalions - including US troops - in the Baltic states and Poland.
Observers also concur that the drill is aimed at ensuring that Belarus, which is under the rule of President Alexander Lukashenko since 1994, stays within the sphere of Russia's influence.
"This is a threat to us, because they are dragging Belarus into this hybrid war, they are on our land practicing fighting a war with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and we don't need that, " said Nikolai Statkevich, a leader of protests against the exercises in Minsk last weekend.