Research Fellows from ICDS participated on 8-9 March at a conference organized by the Baltic Defence College, entitled: “Russia after 2018: Challenges and Responses.”
The presentations made on Zapad 2017, the Russian (and Russian-Belarussian) strategic military exercise, were particularly interesting (LT GEN (Ret) Ben Hodges, COL Kaupo Rosin and CDRE (Ret) Hans Helseth) in terms of in-depth analysis and conclusions, as well as specific ways (open information from Russian official sources) to prove Western assumptions regarding the exercise (e.g. personnel engaged in the exercise was far higher than the officially declared 12,700, the real scenario and purpose was also distinctly different from Russian official statements etc.).
Furthermore, Zapad 2017 underlined the speed necessary for defending the Baltic states, as well as the non-allied Sweden and Finland: the speed for recognition of and reaction to Russian encroachments, the speed for doing necessary practical things that need to be done (for example, putting reactive armor on the main battle tanks), and the speed for moving the NATO and non-allied forces into their defensive positions (“military Schengen“).