01 Sep 2017

War: coming soon?

When Russia flexes its military muscles, it nudges Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, and by extension, the European Union and NATO. And probably you, too.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team NewsMavens, Europe
War: coming soon? - NewsMavens
Russian soldiers

Why this story matters:

Russia is about to deploy thousands of troops and heavy artillery right into your backyard.

As Russo-Belarusian war games, called Zapad, are set to kick off this September, Moscow is officially sending some 3,000 soldiers to take part in the military exercises in Belarus.

But it is also sending enough wagons to actually take some 100,000 men, so it's anyone’s guess how many soldiers will actually be at Zapad.

And Polish and U.S. officials are worried that Russian soldiers and machines may actually stay in Belarus after Zapad ends.

Now you may well be sitting pretty somewhere in Europe's west, thinking: okay, Russia is a far-off land of excessive vodka drinkers, bad drivers and furry hat-wearers, so it’s all good.

But you're wrong.

To be fair, you're probably not wrong about the drinking, the driving, or the silly hats – they're called ushankas, by the way – but you're wrong about it being a far off land.

Because Russia is in a commonwealth with Belarus, which borders with Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and #Estonia.

Those countries are the eastern extremities of both the EuropeanUnion and NATO.

So when Russia flexes its military muscles, it nudges Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, and by extension, the European Union and NATO.

And that probably means you, too.

So when Russia deploys troops, into Poland's backyard, that is, by extension, your backyard.

Heck, zapad is Russian for west, so you'd better believe Putin has your backyard in mind.

Now war games themselves are nothing new, nor is there anything essentially sinister about them.

But when in 2008 Russia had war games near #Georgia, a month later the six-day battle for control over Ossetia started. And military experts are drawing parallels between Russia’s 2008 war games and Zapad 2017 war games. 

I wish I could say that the chances of a Russian attack are slim. Considering an attack on Poland would be a simultaneous attack on the EU and NATO, it's probably safe to say it would be an ill-conceived move.

But if there is one thing we know about Russian President #Vladimir_Putin, it is that he is unpredictable.

Details from the story:

  • Russia is planning war games in Belarus
  • US and Polish officials say Russia may not withdraw its men and arsenal after war games end.
  • Russia said it would send 3,000 troops but is also sending enough wagons to transport 100,000 men

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The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
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