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UK intel: Russia likely to cancel Zapad military exercises due to lack of troops, equipment

russian zapad training
Russian troops parade ahead of the opening of the Zapad 2021 joint Russian-Belarusian drills on the Mulino training ground in the Nizhny Novgorod region, Russia, on Sept. 9, 2021. (Russian Defense Ministry/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
UK intel: Russia likely to cancel Zapad military exercises due to lack of troops, equipment

According to British intelligence, Russia has most likely canceled Zapad planned joint strategic exercise and a significant annual event meant to culminate the military’s training year. The exercise was scheduled to take place in September 2023.

Starting from 2010, Russia adopted a four-year cycle, rotating Joint Strategic Exercises (JSEs) across the country. However, since 2021, Russia has focused on locating the JSEs in western Russia at least every other year, emphasizing its priority to address what it perceives as the NATO threat.

Zapad exercise 2021 marked the largest Russian military exercise since the times of the Soviet Union, UK intel noted.

The Russian military’s unsuccessful operations in Ukraine have clearly demonstrated that JSEs have limited training value and serve mainly for demonstration purposes. “Russia has likely canceled Zapad 2023 because too few troops and equipment are available,” British intel concluded.

There is a real possibility that the Russian leadership is also sensitive to the domestic criticism that another well-represented JSE might face in wartime.

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