Russia, Belarus feign a war
Image : Russian Army
Russia is putting on a display for Nato and the rest of the world in September, which includes a social media-based country that doesn't exist.
Vyshnoria, one of Russia's adversaries in #Zapad2017, now has a foreign ministry and a Twitter feed although there's no such nation.
As warfare moves into the digital sphere more regularly, so too wargames. The logo of the newest non-existent nation of Vyshnoria is a Crusader wielding a sword. Symbolism and militarism are common bedfellows.
The Social Media Kingdom of Vyshnoria
With Zapad2017 or "West2017" beginning on September 14 2017, reportedly an exercise by Moscow featuring more than 100,000 troops, countries in the Baltic region are on edge.
Military analysts globally are watching the latest exercises closely. Held every four years in different military sectors, this year the Zapad war games are close to the Baltic states which are already tense.
Traditionally the Russians hold their exercise season in late winter or early autumn, and the last in 2013 stretched all the way from the Arctic to Voronezh and simultaneously involved all branches of Russia’s armed forces.
Russia can mobilise more than 100,000 troops in the region, whereas Nato's exercises are restricted to around 6,000.
Zapad2013 focused on what Russia called "Baltic Terrorists", which had been said to target Belarus in a theoretical scenario which featured inner-city operations and conventional tactics.
From August 28 to September 1, a mission of Italy and Poland will conduct an observation flight over Belarus and Russia on board a Romanian An-30 observation aircraft under the Open Skies Treaty. The inspection is aimed at verifying military activities in the observed states.
At the same time, the Belarus government says that from August 28 to September 8, the International Military Cooperation Department of the Belarusian Defence Ministry will host a course on the implementation of international arms control treaties for representatives of verification centres of the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) member states.
The event will involve 13 representatives from Austria, the UK, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, France, the Czech Republic and Kazakhstan.