Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation,

Defending the Union. Zapad-2021

The quadrennial exercise, Zapad, often prompts speculation that its real purpose is to provide cover for Russia to build up forces to attack a neighbouring state. This year’s iteration of the exercise took place during a tense period, with NATO-Russia relations at a low point, Russia moving large military units near Ukraine, and Minsk driven closer into Moscow’s embrace.

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Zapad-2021—Logistics and Key Fighting Concepts

Between 10–16 September 2021, Russia and its ally Belarus conducted the active phase of the Zapad-2021 command-staff exercise. Zapad tests Russian warfighting capabilities in the Western operational direction and thus it has a strong anti-NATO character. This has always been the case.

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Between Bad, Worse, and Worst: Europe Faces Tough Tests This Winter

Europe is under growing pressure from the East. First, the dictator of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, after a test run of weaponised waves of migrants against the Lithuanian and Latvian borders over the summer, has now sent not just hundreds but thousands of migrants to breach the borders of the European Union. Kuźnica, on the Polish border, was only the first major attempt; many more are likely to follow to coerce the EU into accepting the regime in Minsk as legitimate and lifting the sanctions.

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Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban's deputy leader and negotiator, and other delegation members attend the Afghan peace conference in Moscow, Russia in March 2021.

Can the Kremlin Exploit the Taliban Victory?

Support for the Taliban regime appears to be unprecedented in Russian foreign policy, as it calls into question the official doctrine that, always and everywhere, Moscow stands up only for legitimate governments and condemns any illegitimate overthrow of them.

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