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Top brass says US used hype over Zapad-2017 drills to deploy armored division to Poland

The Russian Defense Ministry calls "Russian threat" posed by the Zapad-2017 maneuvers a "fraudulent media campaign for the Pentagon’s operation"

MOSCOW, October 12. /TASS/. Washington took advantage of the hysteria in Europe over the joint Russian-Belarusian Zapad-2017 drills to deploy its armored division to Poland, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Thursday.

"Amid the hysteria over Russia’s planned military incursion right from the Zapad-2017 drills, the 2nd armored division of the US arrived quietly in Poland and was deployed there [Boleslawiec, Drawsko Pomorskie, Torun, Skwierzyna, Zagan] also with its armored vehicles," Konashenkov said.

"At the same time, the military equipment of the 3rd US armored brigade still remains in Poland and the Baltic republics," he noted.

De facto, Washington has deployed a mechanized infantry division near Russia’s borders "where the trained personnel of the nearest US base in Europe (Ramstein in Germany) may be deployed in two hours," Konashenkov said.

He stressed that the entire hysteria in the Baltic region and Poland over the "Russian threat" posed by the Zapad-2017 maneuvers is a fraudulent media campaign for the Pentagon’s operation. "Who is the one preparing the aggression?" the general said.

The spokesman noted that during the Russian-Belarusian maneuvers, Poland and the Baltic states were expected to hold a "rotation" of the 3rd armored brigade deployed under the Atlantic Resolve operation. "All the equipment of this brigade (87 M1A1 Abrams tanks, M109 Paladin howitzers, 144 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, and some 100 vehicles) should have remained. And the personnel of the 3rd armored brigade should have been replaced by troops of the 2nd armored brigade of the US Armed Forces in order not to violate the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act," he said.

The general noted that the Russian-Belarusian drills were accompanied by the "unprecedented media hysteria in Europe about their non-transparency, hybrid operations of Russia’s Armed Forces, ‘hordes’ of Russian troops, who already received an order for "incursion," and also that Russia left its strike group in Belarus." The toughest accusations came from the newest members of NATO and the European Union, he said. Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz even called to deploy at least two US divisions to his country "to protect it from external threats."

Konashenkov stressed that dozens of military attaches, monitors and journalists saw with their own eyes that the Zapad-2017 drills ended as scheduled and the units of Russia’s armed forces returned from Belarus to their permanent bases.

The Zapad-2017 drills were conducted on September 14-20 at practice ranges in Russia and Belarus and involved up to 12,700 troops, up to 680 pieces of the armor and military hardware, about 70 aircraft and helicopters and 10 warships.