Logo Polskiego Radia

Russian exercises in Belarus could lead to crisis close to Polish border: report

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 16.05.2017 14:05
Upcoming Russian military exercises in Belarus could lead to a crisis close to Poland’s eastern border, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Photo: Wikimedia CommonsPhoto: Wikimedia Commons

The Kremlin has said that some 3,000 troops will take part in the Zapad (West) 2017 military exercises in September, although some experts say the number will be much higher.

Former NATO Supreme Commander, US Gen. Philip Breedlove, said earlier this year that at least 100,000 troops could take part, adding that the actual number could “possibly be twice that many”. He called the prospect “a bit alarming”.

'Heightened risks for a miscalculation'

The Wall Street Journal daily wrote that “large-scale Russian military exercises near the Baltic states in September pose heightened risks for a miscalculation that could lead to a crisis.”

In late April, Estonian defence minister Margus Tsahkna said the Kremlin could use the military exercises to move thousands of troops permanently into Belarus.

“For Russian troops going to Belarus, it is a one-way ticket,” Tsahkna told Reuters in an interview.

'Soft occupation'

Earlier this year, Ukrainian military expert Alexey Arestovich said Russia plans to threaten Poland and Lithuania with the “soft occupation” of Belarus during the war games.

“Poles ... and with them Europeans will suddenly feel that war is not out there somewhere far away in Syria or in Donbass, but is right on their doorstep,” Arestovich wrote on social media.

Copyright © Polskie Radio S.A About Us Contact Us