Russian war games: Putin's saber-rattling spooks Ukraine and the Baltics - Newsweek

09:53 Sep. 1, 2016

Putin's saber-rattling spooks Ukraine and the Baltics - Newsweek

Tanks during a military exercise held by Russian Southern Military District troops (Getty Images)

Putin's saber-rattling spooks Ukraine and the Baltics

As the late summer weather begins to cool, Russian military exercises have kept the tensions hot in Ukraine and across Eastern Europe.

Periodic flare-ups in the ongoing war in Ukraine's embattled Donbas region this summer have renewed fears of a full-on Russian invasion and spurred an unprecedented post–Cold War redeployment of NATO military forces toward the alliance's eastern flank to deter further Russian aggression in the region.

The latest headache for Kiev and NATO: Russian military exercises scheduled for Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region in September in addition to Russian snap military exercises launched on August 25th in military districts near Ukraine and the Baltic countries.

"If there is an interest in Moscow in stability and predictability, then these exercises are not the way to go," NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow said Monday.

Russia has staged about a dozen snap military exercises in the past two years, while NATO member countries have not held any since the end of the Cold War, according to news reports.

Watch also Russia deploys special forces to Ukraine border as part of military drills

In September, Russia has plans for a large-scale strategic military exercise called Kavkaz-2016. The exercise, which is an annual event, will include units deployed near the borders of Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan—including two Russian military districts in the Southern and Northern Caucasus, the Russian Black Sea Fleet (headquartered in occupied Crimea) and the Caspian Flotilla.

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