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Will Russia Invade Eastern Europe in September?

A few key military officials in the U.S. and Europe are warning that upcoming “war games” conducted by Russia and Belarus are a possible “Trojan Horse” for a Russian invasion.

Vladimir Putin at a presser

Is Russia teaming up with Belarus in September to invade Latvia, Lithuania, or Ukraine?

That’s the fear of some as Russia and Belarus prepare for their Zapad 2017 war games, joint military exercises that have inspired some new fears at a low point in relations between Russia and the western world.

The Financial Times explains:

For seven days from September 14, Russia will conduct large-scale military manoeuvres spanning western Russia, its Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad and its ally Belarus — which borders three Nato members, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.

While Moscow claims fewer than 13,000 troops will take part in Zapad 2017, western capitals expect the number could reach six figures.

Financial Times also reported that Ben Hodges, “commanding general of the US army in Europe,” warned that Russia can use the war games as a “Trojan horse” to invade eastern Europe. The media outlet pointed out that Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea started with drills.

Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia all border Belarus. Latvia and Ukraine share borders with Russia, too.

Reuters produced a graphic of the September war games, which will have Russian and Belarussian forces surrounding Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Russia, for its part, has mocked the concerns. The Kremlin-sponsored Sputnik News published an English-language article calling out “anti-Russian hysteria” over the “Trojan Horse” theory on Thursday.