The Atlantic

A Season of War Games

“When Moscow clears its throat, the region will hear it.”
Source: Sputnik Photo Agency

On September 14, Russia and Belarus launched a massive military exercise along their western borders and in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. It’s meant to mimic war with three invented adversaries: Veishnoriya, the Western-backed aggressor in the scenario, is intent on driving a wedge between Russia and Belarus. Along with its two allies, Lubeniya and Vesbasriya, the imagined countries present a major threat to Russian security. More real, however, is the fear among Russia’s neighbors that such a situation could soon become a reality.   

Moscow has dismissed the rhetoric, that the exercises, perhaps the largest show of force in Europe in a quarter century, are purely defensive. But Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, see themselves in the massive war games unfolding near their borders. And the Kremlin’s lack of transparency surrounding the exercises, put the number 100,000, which would make them the largest war games since the end of the Cold War.

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