Russia’s Zapad Military Drills Seek to Send a Message to the World

The Zapad drills, Russia’s premier military exercises, have begun. The primary goal in these quadrennial war games is to prepare Russian troops for a major war – by some European estimates, as many as 100,000 could take part in the manoeuvres from Sept. 14-20 – with their “presumed opponents” being the U.S. and its allies. But no less important is the message these games seek to send to the world: the Russian military, nearly three decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, is once again a force to be feared.

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”). Weeks before the exercises began, Poland warned that they could be used as cover for a Russian invasion. The small Baltic nation of Lithuania, a U.S. ally and NATO member, announced plans to build a fence to stop Russian troops from wandering or sneaking into its territory during the drills. Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, the commander of U.S. Army forces in Europe, summed up the concerns to Reuters in July: “People are worried this is a Trojan horse.”

That analogy seems …read more

Source:: Time – Science

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