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Russian war games put West on edge

Thursday, September 14, 2017 - 01:19

Russia holds major war games in Belarus from Thursday, and that has many in the West nervous. Lucy Fielder reports.

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Russia's biggest war games since 2013 starting on Thursday (September 14) in Belarus. And many believe Moscow is testing its ability to wage war with the West. NATO says the exercises, codenamed 'Zapad' or 'West', are much bigger than Russia has declared, involving some 100,000 troops and firing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. Moscow says only 13,000 will take part. The last large-scale exercises in 2013 employed special forces training, longer-range missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles - a year later, those tactics were used to annex Crimea. NATO says it is 'calm and vigilant' as it watches from the Baltics, but it thinks Zapad may be a simulated conflict with the U.S.-led alliance, showing Russia's power to mobilise at speed. The U.S. army chief in Europe has said Zapad could be a 'Trojan horse' used to make incursions into Poland and Russian-speaking Baltic regions. The Kremlin accuses NATO of building up forces on its frontiers as in the Cold War days. This U.S. equipment arriving in Poland this week to shore up the alliance - but Russia says the West has nothing to fear from Zapad.

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Russian war games put West on edge

Thursday, September 14, 2017 - 01:19