Zapad 2017 will be biggest-ever exercise at our borders – Bakas

The Zapad 2017 exercise to take place in Russia and Belarus later this year will be the biggest-ever military war games next to Lithuanian borders, says Vytautas Bakas, chairman of the Lithuanian parliamentary National Security and Defense Committee.
RIA / Scanpix

“All I can say is that we have not had an exercise with such number of troops and such equipment next to our borders,” Bakas told BNS after the committee’s meeting on Thursday.

Lithuania’s military intelligence has precise data about the planned scope of the exercise, however, in his words, the figures are classified.

Bakas stated he would ask intelligence institutions to specify the numbers in the review of national security threats published every year: “I think the numbers should be disclosed to the people.”

The politician added that the character of Zapad 2017 would be assault.

“Without doubt. Russia’s political elite does not only design the exercises next to our borders to have their troops stretch their muscles. They design scenarios of invasion into the Baltic states,” said Bakas.

The review of national security threats is worked out annually by the State Security Department and the Second Investigations Department under the Defence Ministry.

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