KEATING STATEMENT ON ZAPAD 2021
Commencing today and continuing into next week, military forces from Russia and Belarus will take part in Zapad 2021. Zapad, meaning “West” in Russian, is a military exercise conducted on Russia’s Western borders to showcase their strategic capabilities and practice operational maneuvers. Even more alarmingly, Russia has used lessons learned from Zapad and other exercises in its destabilizing military operations related to the invasion of Georgia in 2008 as well as the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
In short, these exercises pose a direct threat to European stability and to the stability of the NATO alliance. As such, this exercise is of particular concern to our allies in Poland and the Baltic states, all of whom share a common border with Russia, and several with Belarus.
For these reasons, I will be continuously monitoring the situation along with my colleagues on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Armed Services Committee. The United States remains committed to upholding Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty and firmly believes Europe’s territorial integrity must be respected. Further, we remain steadfast in our support to our security partners in Eurasia and condemn continued Russian aggression against Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova. Together, the United States and our NATO allies stand ready to defend against any threat to our historic alliance.