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Details of the Vladimir Putin’s so-called “Zapad” (West) exercises were revealed by analysts from two leading intelligence agencies, Bild reported. They did not specify the methods used to collect the intel.

At the time, Putin claimed the exercises were for anti-terror purposes and were purely defensive in nature.

However, the paper reported that the drills were a dry-run for a “shock campaign” against Western European NATO countries.

This included first overrunning the Sulwalki Gap – a 60 mile stretch of NATO land that connects the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad with its ally Belarus.

 A Russian soldier takes part in the Zapad training drills in Kaliningrad in September

A Russian soldier takes part in the Zapad training drills in Kaliningrad in September
 Russian helicopters launch missiles during the drills
Russian helicopters launch missiles during the drills

 Western analysts now believe the drills were a mock invasion of NATO countries

Western analysts now believe the drills were a mock invasion of NATO countries

 They involved missile launches as well as ground, sea and air dry-runs

They involved missile launches as well as ground, sea and air dry-runs
 

Russian military shows off Ratnik ‘Superman’ combat suit which allows Putin’s soldiers to walk through fire and explosions unharmed.

 

It practised this by creating a mock state on an identical piece of land in Belarus then invading it.

At the same time, the analysts said, the Kremlin also rehearsed “neutralising or taking under control air fields and harbours (in eastern Europe), so there are no reinforcements arriving from other NATO states there”.
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At the same time, the analysts said, the Kremlin also rehearsed “neutralising or taking under control air fields and harbours (in eastern Europe), so there are no reinforcements arriving from other NATO states there”. They added: “This does not mean that you have to occupy the countries and declare ‘Peoples’ Republics’ or something like that, but that you have to occupy the harbours, airports and so on.” Over two days, Russian fighter jets also flew mock sorties through the Baltic and North Seas, swooping down onto the edges of Germany and the Netherlands.