West 2017 military exercises testing Russian preparedness for large war – Turchynov
The scale of strategic Russian military HQ drills as part of the West 2017 military exercises and the character of forces and equipment used shows the intention of Russian leaders to increase confrontation in Europe and demands a serious reaction from the West, as well as from Ukraine, Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov has said.
A statement issued by the NSDC on Tuesday morning highlights the unprecedented nature of the military exercises.
"According to official Russian statements some 13,000 soldiers will take part in West 2017, including 3,000 army soldiers, 280 pieces of military equipment and 25 airplanes. At the same time, the real number of participants in the West 2017 is estimated to be 230,000 to 240,000, more than 10,000 pieces of military equipment, 100 planes and 40 ships, including submarines," the statement says.
Turchynov said the military exercises is not for training purposes, taking into the account the Russia's complicated economic situation and budget cuts to Russia's military.
The NSDC secretary said the war games is a demonstration of resolve by Russia's military and political establishment to respond to any steps by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)/U.S. to confront future Kremlin military adventures in the post-Soviet space.
"…West 2017 is being used by the Kremin to gauge how well prepared Russia's army is to conduct an all-out war with the West," Turchynov said, adding that "Ukraine's leaders and military forces, as well as other state defense agencies are taking the necessary steps to defend Ukraine's government."