By Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog
(Jerusalem, Israel) — Is Russia preparing to invade another European country, or simply training its forces to do so in the future?
That’s the big question as Vladimir Putin prepares to launch a massive series of war games on Thursday dangerously close to the borders of three NATO member states — the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — as well as Ukraine, which Russia has invaded and occupied portions of twice since 2014.
While it sounds eerily similar to the plot of my forthcoming political thriller, The Kremlin Conspiracy, the exercise — code-named “Zapad-2017” (Zapad in Russian means “West”) is all-too-real. It is set to begin on September 14 and conclude on September 20th, and tensions in the region are high.
Some says the concerns are overblown and that Moscow has no intention of using military force in Europe. Such skeptics need to be reminded, however, that in just the last decade, Putin has invaded Georgia (and occupies 20% of it), Ukraine (twice, and occupies Crimea and Eastern Ukraine), and has sent forces into Syria to prop up the bloodthirsty Assad regime that has slaughtered hundreds of thousands of its own people and driven nearly half the Syrian population from their homes.
The Economist calls this “Russia’s biggest war game in Europe since the Cold War.” That said, there is a dispute over just how big.
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