What You Need to Know About Russia’s Big Wargame on NATO’s Doorstep

By Ben Watson

September 11, 2017

For weeks, Russia and Belarus have been preparing for Zapad 2017.

Zapad is Moscow’s recurring Cold War-era wargame designed to show the world Russia can outmatch NATO. Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls the drills “exceptionally defensive” in nature. Zapad involves fictional battles played out across western Russia, Belarus and Kaliningrad.

So not far from many NATO members on the eastern flank, like Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland,” said Lauren Speranza, associate director of the Transatlantic Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council in Washington. ”It could be the largest exercise since the end of the Cold War.”

Read here for the latest Zapad 2017 analysis from the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Lab.
Explore all of Defense One’s Zapad 2017 coverage here  .

By Ben Watson // Ben Watson is news editor for Defense One. He previously worked for NPR's “All Things Considered” and “Here and Now” in Washington, D.C. Watson served for five years in the U.S. Army, where he was an award-winning combat cameraman and media advisor for southern Afghanistan's special operations command during the 2010-11 surge.

September 11, 2017