Russian drill calls for ‘NATO’ soldiers ‘to lay down arms, stop being pawns’

© Evgeny Biyatov
Russian troops were allegedly on the hunt for NATO soldiers during a mission in the northwest of the country. However, there is no need to panic. The alliance is not invading, as it was merely a mock exercise to simulate a hypothetical incursion into Russia.

The opposing force was not specified, but messages played over loudspeakers as the drills took place left little room for the imagination. 

“NATO soldiers! You are being lied to! You are not peacekeepers! Lay down your arms,” a female voice warned the soldiers in a recording played on loudspeakers, according to RIA Novosti’s reporter on the scene. 

“Your treacherous attack is disturbing a peaceful country. You will suffer retribution and the anger of a people who have never suffered defeat in any war. Drop your weapons and stop being pawns for your leaders,” the Russian message added. It was then played in several other languages. 

The warning was thankfully just a drill which took place near St. Petersburg and Pskov. The training exercise, named ‘Cooperation-2016’, is partly aimed at preparing troops to protect the country’s borders and was part of a series of drills undertaken by the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Apart from Russia, the CSTO includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Those countries were also undertaking counter-terrorism exercises.  

Away from the war games, NATO has carried out a number of exercises close to Russia’s borders. In June, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that the alliance’s activity on Russia’s doorstep had “more than doubled,” meaning Moscow would have to take retaliatory measures. 

“Now NATO and the US have deployed about 1,200 pieces of military equipment, including 30 combat jets, as well as more than 1,000 soldiers on the territories of the Eastern European countries on a rotational basis. The US navy ships as well as military vessels of other NATO members regularly enter the Baltic and Black Seas,” Shoigu said. 

On June 14, NATO agreed to deploy a new 4,000-strong force in the Baltic States and Poland in addition to more than 1,000 soldiers already stationed there on a rotational basis.