Hodges urges Moscow to greater openness in the issue of “war games”
Russian-Belarusian military exercises “West-2017” can act as “Trojan horse”. Comments about this Reuters said the commander of the US army in Europe, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges.
NATO officials intend to strengthen the monitoring, because in Russia they say that “it’s just exercises and then all the forces will be transferred in the other direction,” said Hodges.
The American General pointed out that such fears are experiencing non-NATO countries in Eastern Europe and Ukraine. In their opinion, Russia can leave Belarus in the arms for other operations.
Hodges said that while there is no reason to talk about such plans of the Russian Federation, but greater openness of Moscow to issue their “war games” would help to convince Eastern European countries to the contrary.
Lieutenant-General indicated that the US and its allies always say how many people are actually taking part in military exercises. In accordance with international documents, this figure should not exceed 13 thousand However in Eastern Europe believe that the exercises “West-2017” can take part more than 100 thousand people.
No special precautions in connection with the exercise in Belarus will not be made, says Hodges. It is only about sending an additional 120 paratroopers in the Baltic countries “to exercise a small level.”
Exercises “West-2017” to be held from 14th to 20th September.
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said that the teachings should be available for monitoring by international organizations, including NATO.
According to the Minister of defence of Estonia Margus tsahkna, Russia can use the “West-2017” to place thousands of soldiers in Belarus as a warning to NATO.
On 30 June the Minister of defence Stepan Poltorak at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the exercises “West-2017” on the border with Ukraine is a threat to the state.