[Strategic Intel] Estonian general: Russia’s ZAPAD 2017 was dress rehearsal for invasion of Europe

The commander of Estonia’s military believes that Russia’s large-scale Zapad (West) 2017 military exercises held last fall was practice for the invasion of the European continent.

Gen. Riho Terras said in an interview with the German newspaper, Bild, that Russia had “simulated a large-scale military attack against NATO” under the cover of the military exercise in Belarus and the Kaliningrad enclave.

“It was not targeted toward the Baltic states only, as it was a theatre-wide series of exercises spanning from high North to the Black Sea,” Terras said. “The scale and extent of the entire exercise was far greater than officially stated.”

The armed forces of the Russian Federation and Belarus took part in the exercises, which the latter claimed involved fewer than 13,000 troops.

NATO leaders suggested otherwise, however, with Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg saying at the time the number of the troops participating in the exercises “significantly exceeded the number announced before the exercise.” [source]

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Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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