Russian military vehicles conducting a march during the Zapad-2017. (Source)
Russia’s Zapad-2017 exercise ended on Wednesday 20 September after months of preparations and an intensive political standoff between the West and Russia.
In the official Russia’s Ministry of Defence press release on Zapad-2017, 12 700 soldiers from Russia and Belarus conducted a 6-day intensive anti-terror exercise to demonstrate Russia’s conventional counter-terrorism capabilities. However, in the western interpretations, in turn, the extent and motive of the Zapad-2017 differs from Russia’s official statements; Firstly, member states of the EU and NATO presented a notably greater numbers of troops and hardware participating in Zapad-2017 and secondly, Russia’s western neighbours addressed their concerns of Russia’s prospective aggressive motives behind the large-scale exercise.
In the following text, I will analyse the possible meaning of the Zapad-2017 and present a view of Russia’s political-strategic outlook on internal and external security.