Russia kicked off what Western powers expect to be the country’s largest military exercise since the Cold War on Thursday, a massive mobilization of forces that has triggered unease among U.S. officials and their allies in Eastern Europe. Land, sea and air units will be taking part in war games across a huge area encompassing western Russia, Belarus, the Baltic Sea and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Moscow

says fewer than 13,000 troops are participating, meaning they don’t have to invite international observers. But NATO members and Western military experts believe as many as 100,000 troops may be involved in the drills. Dubbed Zapad, which means “west” in Russian, the exercise has its roots in vast Soviet drills dating to the 1980s. READ MORE