Are Russia & Belarus gearing up for conflict with the West? Hysterical pundits are sounding alarms while ignoring NATO war games | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Are Russia & Belarus gearing up for conflict with the West? Hysterical pundits are sounding alarms while ignoring NATO war games

Since 2009, the quadrennial Zapad military drills have become a rotational autumn fixture for troops from Russia, Belarus and some other friendly states. Just as reliable, however, is the hysteria they elict in Western media.

Bringing together tens of thousands of both Moscow's and Minsk's soldiers, as well as others from Mongolia and Kazakhstan, this year's installation of the wargames is one of the largest seen across the world for nearly 40 years. Three hundred tanks, thousands of armoured vehicles, numerous artillery and MLRS systems as well as 15 naval vessels have all been deployed to take part. The Russian and Belarusian Air Forces are also fielding warplanes and front-line fighter squadrons with the aim of stepping up their existing co-operation.

To NATO commanders covering the US-led bloc's so-called Eastern Flank, the sheer scale might cause some concern. But they can't be that worried about the prospect of escalation, given they are at the same time running Operation Atlantic Resolve, which has included exercises close to the border with Russia.

However, the difference between reality and perception when it comes to ties between Moscow and the West is laid bare by reporting on the issue in the English language media, highlighting the scale of Cold War-era attitudes towards much of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

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