Upcoming Russian-Belarusian West-2017 military training raises concerns in the West, as they may influence Ukraine. NATO Defence Policy and Planning Division official stated this during the Rose-Roth seminar on Security and stability in Ukraine and the Black Sea region, as informed by Interfax-Ukraine.
"Caucasus 2012 (tabletop exercise of southern military district held on 17-23 September 2012 by the Russian Armed Forces) helped Russians capture a part of Georgian territory, so West-2017 drills raise apprehensiveness in the West, as it may deeply influence the situation in Ukraine", he said.
He pointed out that West-2017 trainings imply "serious, large-scale movement of forces by railway" and other activities, which can't help but raise apprehension.
As we reported earlier, NATO is to strengthen presence in Eastern Europe during West 2017 drills.
Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov stated that joint Russian-Belarusian training may be a preparation for an offensive. Later on President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko assured Petro Poroshenko that the West-2017 drills won't turn into preparations for Ukraine invasion.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak also called Russia-Belarus drills near Ukrainian border a threat.