With a world seemingly on the brink of war at a moment’s notice, Russia has stepped up their military propaganda to the extreme.
Between their uncouth threatening of the United States over North Korea, and their incessant cyber warfare initiatives, the Russian government has done one heck of a job irritating the rest of the world in recent months. Not only have they been found to be likely complicit in a number of horrific war crimes in Syria, but their military actions in Crimea and The Ukraine have been suspiciously hostile – to put it nicely.
Now, as the globe struggles to deal with international terrorism, the spread of weaponized fake news, and a pesky DPRK despot, Russia is prancing around the outskirts of Europe in full military regalia, conducting “drills” that are far and away larger than even they will admit.
“Russia has begun its biggest war game in years on land, in the air, and on the sea bordering NATO‘s smallest and weakest member states. No fewer than 12,000 troops, 70 warplanes, 250 tanks, and 10 warships are officially scheduled to wage mock warfare from Sept. 14 to Sept. 20 in Belarus and Russia and on the Baltic and Barents Seas.
“The ‘Zapad 2017’ training exercise, a joint effort between the Russian and Belarusian militaries, involves some of the latest Russian-made weaponry. But the war game is equally notable for the weapons that aren’t involved.
“Despite a resurgence under President Vladimir Putin, Moscow’s armed forces still can’t deploy stealth fighters or the latest tank models. And Russia’s sole aircraft carrier, the aged Admiral Kuznetsov, is also unavailable for training.
“‘The exercise is purely defensive, and does not target any country or group of states,’ the Russian defense ministry stated.
“But those assurances did little to calm NATO and neutral countries near the exercise zone. ‘I believe it is clear that we are witnessing yet another Russian demonstration of power and capabilities,’ German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen said.
“Von der Leyen accused Russia of undercounting the number of troops involved in Zapad 2017 by an order of magnitude. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an international body that monitors the military balance of power on the continent, requires that countries either limit their war games to no more than 13,000 troops—or invite foreign officials to observe the training.
“Moscow invited NATO observers, but limited them to viewing only a small part of the exercise. In the end, the Western alliance sent just two officials.”
Russia’s flexing of military muscle comes at a particularly wary time for the United States, who have been at odds with the Asian superpower in unprecedented ways.
With Kim Jong Un flaunting North Korea’s newfound nuclear might, and directly threatening the United States several times, Russian authorities have warned the United States that direct, hostile actions taken against the DPRK could result in retaliation from Putin’s military – a frightening development in an already sticky situation.