Upcoming Russian exercise raises concerns in Europe

37164794545 1df2f5d9af k Upcoming Russian exercise raises concerns in Europe

United States Ambassador Marie L. Yovanovitch talks to Col. David Jordan, co-commander of exercise Rapid Trident and commander of Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, while conducting the opening ceremony for Rapid Trident 17 at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre in Yavoriv, Ukraine, Sept., 11, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Zachery Perkins)

An upcoming Russian military exercise in Europe is making analysts nervous.

CNN is reporting that the major exercise, called Zapad 2017, will take place in Kaliningrad, which borders Poland,  and Belarus which borders both Poland and Ukraine.

“Military analysts see such war games as a possible rehearsal for a Russia-NATO armed conflict as it is taking place very close to an area that analysts consider to be the most likely target of a Russian offensive,” the article states.

There is also concern by NATO that Russia is not being as transparent about the exercise as it should, such as “not allowing observers to monitor the exercise to ensure that it is not a cover for an aggressive military operation,” as required by international treaties, according to CNN.

There is also worry about the true number of participating troops, with the Russians claiming 13,000 and observers saying it could actually be as large as 100,000 Russian and Belorussian forces, according to CNN.

The U.S. is currently participating in a multinational training exercise in Ukraine called Exercise Rapid Trident 17. The Russian exercise will begin just days after it ends on Sept. 23.

The Ukrainian-led annual exercise has 1,800 participating service members from 14 countries, and is “focused on peacekeeping and stability operations,” according to the US Army Europe website on the exercise.

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