Letter From the Editors: August 28-September 3, 2017

Author: Xenia Grushetsky

The Veishnorians Are Coming! The Veishnorians Are Coming!

In Eastern Europe, Russia and Belarus are fending off an attack by the imaginary countries of Lubenia, Vesbaria and Veishnoria. These names clearly refer to Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, with the latter apparently attempting to break off a chunk of western Belarus for itself. If Sigmund Freud were in that war room, he’d diagnose a case of projection. Aleksandr Golts seems to agree with him, pointing out that NATO’s presence at Russia’s borders - something that the Zapad 2017 exercise is supposed to counter - wouldn’t be an issue if not for Russia’s "Crimean spring" misadventure. Incidentally, that operation also began under the guise of a snap inspection, which allowed Russia to amass troops and weapons near the Ukrainian border. The rest, as they say, is history.

Moscow and Minsk did extend invitations to international observers for the exercises - however, those are limited to a five-day "guest pass" in Belarus and a one-day presence in Russia. Not much time to really get a sense of what’s going on. But perhaps what Moscow is actually trying to conceal is not its terrifying plot to take Veishnoria by winter - maybe it’s just hiding the low combat readiness of its troops, writes Golts.

As if in response to Zapad 2017, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko stated following a recent Ukraine-NATO summit in Kiev that he suggested resuming talks on issuing Ukraine a Membership Action Plan - the first step toward joining NATO. The alliance, for its part, was cautiously ambiguous about Kiev’s chances of joining. According to Piers Cazalet, head of NATO’s press service, NATO has taken Poroshenko’s suggestion into consideration, but Ukraine "still has a long way to go." In other words, don’t call us, we’ll call you. Meanwhile, following the events of 2014, more and more Ukrainians are in favor of joining NATO. While in ...

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