The 2013 Zapad military exercises drew the participation of at least 12,000 Russian and Belarusian military personnel and involved simulated air, naval and urban warfare. This year's drills promise to be even bigger.
In the grand standoff between Russia and the West, one of the strategic messages that Moscow regularly sends its adversaries comes by way of military drills. The Zapad exercises are the highest profile war games Russia plays. And since their inception in the mid-1970s, the drills -- whose name means "west" in Russian -- have served as a reflection of the relationship between Moscow and its Western counterparts and as a preview of future military actions and techniques....
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