File - In this file photo taken on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017 a man watches Russian military jets performing in Alabino, outside Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
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From planes, radars and ships in the Baltics, NATO officials say they are watching Russia's biggest war games since 2013 with "calm and confidence," but many are unnerved about what they see as Moscow testing its ability to wage war against the West. NATO believes the exercises, officially starting Thursday in Belarus, the Baltic Sea, western Russia and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, are already underway. It says they are larger than Moscow has publicized, numbering some 100,000 troops, and involve firing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.Code-named Zapad or "West," NATO officials say the drills will simulate a conflict with the U.S.-led alliance intended to show Russia's ability to mass large numbers of troops at very short notice in the event of a conflict.Some Western officials including the head of the U.S. Army in Europe, Gen. Ben Hodges, have raised concerns that Russia might use the drills as a "Trojan horse" to make incursions into Poland and Russian-speaking regions in the Baltics.
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