There is no reason to believe Russia regarding the information provided on the extent of the exercise in Belarus, the West-2017. The commander of US Ground forces in Europe Frederick “Ben” Hodges has urged Russia to invite observers from the media to illuminate the maneuvers. This General said at a joint press conference with Minister of defense of Lithuania Raimundas Karoblis, reports Delfi.
“The Russians have not given us good reasons to believe the numbers they are talking about”, he said.
According to the Kremlin, the maneuvers will involve at least 13 thousand troops, but NATO believes that this figure is artificially low because the exercises are broken down into separate parts, writes Delfi. This allows you to avoid duties under the regulations to invite observers.
“I believe that everything could be resolved and everyone would be able to relax if the Russian Federation was invited everywhere by the media, as is done in Lithuanian, German and American armed forces,” said Hodges.
“To be vigilant is the responsibility of all our security services. I considered the predictor of the future,” said the General.
The publication notes that at the time of exercise, the U.S. sent to Lithuania more fighters and a company of soldiers this year in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland also deployed one battalion (about a thousand soldiers) from different NATO countries.
Despite the fact that participating countries claim that Western-2017 bears defensive nature, defense Minister of Lithuania Raimundas Karoblis said in turn that “the defense may be followed by a simulated counter-offensive and offensive”.
See also: West-2017: the staff is considering offensive actions of the Russian Federation