September 30, 2023 4:46 am

FT: NATO Organizes Largest War Games Since Cold War, says RT World News

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NATO is preparing for its largest military exercises since the Cold War era, with the aim of simulating a potential Russian invasion and increasing the bloc’s readiness for such a scenario. The exercises, called Steadfast Defender, will involve approximately 41,000 troops, over 50 ships, and between 500 and 700 combat air missions. While the drills are designed to simulate a clash with a fictional coalition known as ‘Occasus,’ they are also seen as a message to Moscow that the alliance is prepared to defend itself.

Scheduled for February and March 2024, the exercises will take place in Germany, Poland, and the Baltic states. In addition to the member countries of the US-led military bloc, Sweden will also participate. Sweden applied to join NATO last year, but its application is currently in limbo due to the reluctance of Turkey and Hungary to ratify it, citing grievances in bilateral relations.

This exercise marks a shift in NATO’s training strategy, with the alliance planning to hold two major war games each year, rather than just one. Steadfast Defender will not only focus on military readiness, but also on counterterrorism efforts beyond the bloc’s borders, reflecting NATO’s evolving role in responding to global security challenges.

The decision to hold these large-scale exercises comes in the context of heightened tensions between NATO and Russia. In June 2022, in response to the Ukraine conflict, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the deployment of 300,000 troops, describing it as the “biggest overhaul of our collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War.” This military build-up by NATO has been viewed by Russian officials as a threat, and they have warned of increased tensions in the region as a result. Moscow has also repeatedly cautioned the alliance against expanding closer to Russia’s borders, with President Vladimir Putin citing the risk of Ukraine joining NATO as one of the reasons behind the conflict in the region.

The Steadfast Defender exercises serve as a demonstration of NATO’s commitment to collective defense and its preparedness to respond to any potential threat. By conducting these drills with a focus on a simulated Russian invasion, the alliance aims to send a clear message to Moscow about its determination to defend its member states. Additionally, the exercises provide an opportunity for NATO and its partners to enhance their interoperability and coordination, ensuring a strong and unified response in the face of any security challenge.

While the exercises are primarily aimed at enhancing NATO’s capabilities and deterring potential aggressors, they also serve as a reminder of the alliance’s enduring commitment to collective security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region. As NATO continues to adapt and evolve in the face of evolving security threats, exercises like Steadfast Defender contribute to maintaining a credible and effective defense posture, reassuring member countries and demonstrating the alliance’s resolve to preserve peace and protect its territory.

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Original Source: FT: NATO Organizes Largest War Games Since Cold War, says RT World News

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