MOSCOW (Reuters) - General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of Russia’s general staff, told Curtis Scaparrotti, a U.S general who is NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, that Moscow’s latest military exercise was purely defensive, the RIA news agency reported.
RIA said that Gerasimov was referring to the exercise, codenamed “Zapad”, or “West”, which began on Thursday and will last until Sept. 20. It is being conducted on military ranges in Belarus, western Russia, Russia’s exclave of Kaliningrad and in the Baltic Sea.
NATO is closely watching the exercises and says they are larger than the 12,700 servicemen Moscow has publicised, actually numbering some 100,000 troops, and involve firing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.
Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Andrew Osborn