News Worms
News Worms


Kremlin Considers 'Wave of Hysteria' Over Russia-Belarus Drills 'Provocation'

Kremlin Considers 'Wave of Hysteria' Over Russia-Belarus Drills 'Provocation'

Russian Federation and Belarus began major war games Thursday, an operation involving thousands of troops, tanks and aircraft on NATO's eastern edge practicing how to hunt down and destroy armed spies, among other maneuvers.

Russian Federation accused the West on Thursday of "whipping up hysteria" over its large-scale military exercises now underway in eastern Europe and denied charges that they were being conducted with a lack of transparency.

Russian Federation and Belarus are set to launch their own Zapad war games on Thursday, which will involve up to 12,700 troops, 70 aircraft, and almost 700 land vehicles.

Even though the Kremlin maintains that the exercise is purely defensive, Baltic and Eastern European states have reason to be concerned: the 2013 version of the drills is widely regarded as a training exercise for the annexation of Crimea the following year.

She also noticed that the exercises are already taking place, although they officially will begin only today.

How many troops are participating?

The Zapad 2017 military exercise is held on the border with Poland, Lithuania and Belarus.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Thursday that Russia had been completely open and transparent about its military's involvement in the exercises.

Poland's Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz has said that, contrary to claims by Moscow, the Russian and Belarusian war games pose a "real danger" and that "nearly 100,000 soldiers have been mobilised for these exercises".

Russian Federation and Belarus plan to practice amassing troops in a scenario that pits them against terrorists infiltrating their borders from three different countries. NATO's chief Jens Stoltenberg told the BBC that Russian Federation has a history of using "big military exercises as a disguise or a precursor for aggressive military actions against their neighbors".

The main goals of the drills are to "update the operational compatibility of headquarters at different levels, promote the interoperability of prospective forces and weapons control systems, test new charter documents, and allow commanders of all ranks to practice planning events of a military nature and commanding forces on the basis of modern armed-conflict experience", the statement said.

There is also unease in Kiev, and Ukraine is now conducting its own military exercises.

The Kremlin has vigorously defended its right to hold exercises and has long blamed the United States for ratcheting up tensions by expanding North Atlantic Treaty Organisation up to its borders and holding its own provocative drills. "They say, 'We're just doing an exercise, ' and then all of a sudden they've moved all these people and capabilities somewhere". In addition, according to military analysts, Belarus acts as the ally of the aggressor country.

However, Russia has stressed that only 12,700 troops are taking part in the war games, which falls under the 13,000 threshold for mandatory monitoring under the Vienna agreement.

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