Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting dedicated to the Winter Universiade 2019 in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk March 1, 2017. Reuters

If Russia’s pending military drills later this year are not, in fact, a preparation for war or yet another test towards the United States and NATO members, then a top U.S. general has said the Russians should open their joint drills to “observers,” Reuters reported Wednesday. The drills, called Zapad 2017 for “West,” have been scheduled for September as a joint effort with Belarus along Russia’s western border as Moscow has repeatedly tested the U.S. and other NATO members with military maneuvers like aircraft hovering over airspace and a spy ship coasting along U.S. states over the last several months.

“For me, Zapad represents an opportunity for the Russians to demonstrate that they are committed to security and stability in Europe also through transparency, by inviting media, by inviting observers, more than the minimums required by Vienna, to demonstrate, to show what's going on, to be transparent," U.S. lieutenant general Ben Hodges said to reporters according to Reuters.

Russia has not disclosed how many troops are expected to participate in the drills but Lt. Gen. Yur Stavitsky told reporters in January when he announced them that Russia’s Engineer Troops will take part, according to state-run Sputnik International.

The U.S. and NATO have responded to Russia’s perceived escalation of flexing its military might by positioning more troops and equipment in and around NATO countries, but countries like Lithuania have said they are fretful over Russia’s movements and have questioned its motives.

"We see that risks are increasing, and we are worried about the upcoming 'Zapad 2017' exercise, which will deploy a very large and aggressive force (on our borders) that will very demonstrably be preparing for a war with the West," Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said to reporters after meeting with Latvian and Estonia’s top officials Reuters reported in January.