NATO experts analyzed satellite images of the Zapad 2017 exercises and found tens of thousands of soldiers, while Russia assured that fewer than 13,000 military men participated in the maneuvers, as reported by Die Welt, citing sources in NATO.
Exercises with military formations exceeding 13,000 people require the participation of observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), however, they were not present at the maneuvers.
According to Die Welt, NATO is going to accuse Russia for deliberately misleading the group regarding the number of troops involved. The alliance believes that Russia deliberately understated the number of military men who took part in the Zapad 2017 exercises.
This issue will be discussed at the NATO-Russia Council meeting, which will be held on October 26th in Brussels.
"We will clearly state that we are aware of such behavior," the newspaper quotes its sources in the North Atlantic alliance.
In July, NATO representatives did not hide their skepticism about the real number of the participants in the trainings.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg noted then, that taking into account previous experiences, Russia may understate the number of military personnel involved in the exercises.
Russia declared that 12,700 soldiers were involved in the exercises.