Russian-Belarussian drills “Zapad-2017”, planned for 14-20 September 2017, raise many doubts and questions, not only among leaders of neighboring countries. One of the reason is concentration of a large number of troops on NATO’s eastern flank, also as claimed NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg the lack of transparency of joint Russian and Belarusian forces. Limiting the access to precise observation of preparation to exercise and lack of opportunity to fully participate in planned activities does not reinforce the trust and belief in the defensive nature of drills. In the opinion of Alexandra Grushko, the Russian ambassador to NATO, this is not inconsistence with international agreements, among others with OSCE Vienna Document from 1999 “Confidence and security building measures”. The tensions in this region, especially by prism of the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian hybrid war are serious, in fact this seems to confirm a new Cold War scenario of relations between the West and the East.
The “Zapad” drills, in Russian “West”, dates back to the Soviet Union, when the number of soldiers and civilian personnel involved in it reached more than 150,000 (in 1981), when they exercise defense against German aggression. From 2009 we can talk about the regularity of these maneuvers, in cooperation with Minsk. Also in that year, according to media reports, the scenario predicted a nuclear attack on Polish territory. In 2013, the combined forces defended theirs countries against Baltic terrorists. Despite the announced 13,000, in maneuvers participated about 90,000 soldiers and other personnel.