Russia’s recent aggressive actions near its borders hasn’t gone unnoticed by NATO, especially those snap military drills Russia seems to be good at organizing.
No NATO ally is in a position to challenge these constant military exercises, though. As NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow pointed out, there is a loophole in a security agreement signed with Western countries allowing Russia to conduct as much snap drills as it wants. What’s worth nothing, however, is that no NATO ally has staged any of these snap drills since the Cold War ended.
Earlier this month, Vershbow wrote an op-ed piece, noting that these unannounced Russian snap exercises tend to involve more than 100,000 troops at times. This is “more than double the size of even the largest NATO exercise since the Cold War. On Monday, Vershbow said that these drills are now happening “with increasing frequency,” according to a report from the Associated Press.
Previously, Vershbow emphasized that Russia had “irresponsibly buzzed” a number of NATO ships and aircraft with its own combat planes recently. During recent months, he also noted of “new permanent deployments” made by Russia along its western borders, stretching from the Barents to the Baltic Sea as well as from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean.
As of the moment, Russia already has 300,000 troops stationed in its Western Military District. A few months ago, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has announced the deployment of 30,000 more.
Because of this, Vershbow said there is a need to “develop a more stringent regime to increase transparency and … predictability and a way to better stabilize” NATO’s relations with Russia. If there was one word Vershbow could use to describe the relationship between NATO and Russia right now, it would be “unsatisfactory.”