amsterdam - The Russian armed forces trained on an attack on the West during the military exercise Zapad 2017 earlier this year. The exercise included the Baltic states and air strikes were carried out on targets in, among others, Germany and possibly also the Netherlands.
The German newspaper Bild writes this on the authority of two sources to a 'Western intelligence service'.
The scenario of the military exercise would come into force if the Kremlin were to feel threatened, for example by an escalation in Ukraine. The operation consisted of at least three components:
Together with Zapad 2017, exercises were held in the south-west of Russia, presumably aimed at stopping a counterattack by NATO in response to an occupation of the Baltic states.
During Zapad 2017 it was already clear that the exercise was a lot bigger than Russia did. Formally only 12,700 troops participated in the exercise, but that number seemed to have been used mainly to prevent the West from sending observers. According to international agreements, observers are allowed in an exercise involving more than 13,000 military personnel. The actual number of soldiers taking part was probably more than 100,000, supplemented by a few thousand reservists and units from the intelligence service FSB, writes Bild.
The aim of the operation would be a quick victory, which would give the Kremlin a strong negotiating position. If the attacks would get stuck or if NATO opened a major counterattack, Russia would not shy away from threatening the use of (tactical) nuclear weapons.