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Zapad War Games stand borderline offensive

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Art by Joanne Jun

Art by Joanne Jun

Art by Joanne Jun

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The recent 2017 Zapad war games between Russia and Belarus have caused alarm among many NATO countries. The Zapad war games were held in order for Russia to practice its military exercises and procedures. On September 14th to the 20th, Russia and Belarus held the joint military exercises along the Belorussian and Russian border.

According to CBS News, the war games resulted in large numbers of Russian military troops, aircraft, and tanks along the countries’ borders. One consequent concern is that Russia will permanently leave said resources in Belarus now that the games have concluded. According to CNBC News, Estonia and other NATO countries have stated that they have gained information that confirms this plan.

“When [Putin] stages this incredibly large military war game practice, people are a little reticent,” said social studies teacher Mrs. Maureen Martin. “It is not without justification that he hasn’t done that before, and he hasn’t been taking steps that look like he might be pushing to see if there is going to be a response or a reaction.”

The worry of the standing Russian military resources, coupled with the anxiety that Russian troops may eventually cross the borders, is reminiscent of similar actions in 2008 and 2014 done in Georgia and Ukraine, respectively. The annexation conflict in Crimea, between Russia and Ukraine, in past years may be repeated in Belarus following the 2017 Zapad.

“If Russia has the ability to get Belarus and they are getting closer to it [and they have their arms in there],” said sophomore Katya Boskovic, “there is definitely a possibility they might want to take it back post-Soviet Union collapse.”

Increasing animosity between the leaders of the two Slavic countries may also perpetuate Russian military action. Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko’s decision to act as a neutral mediator for the Ukraine peace talks has resulted in reasons for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s angst over a potential relationship between Belarus and Western countries. The two countries have considered one another allies and the Belorussian president’s duplicitous actions may cause further tension between Russia and Belarus.

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The student news site of Saint Viator High School
Zapad War Games stand borderline offensive