NATO announced this on Wednesday Formal start of its biggest military maneuver in decadesWith the departure of the US military ship nicknamed “Steadfast Defender 24” “USS Gunston Hall” From Norfolk, Virginia.
north atlantic treaty organization (NATO) reported in a statement that “After a series of operations, the ship will begin its transit across the Atlantic.”
“The departure of the USS Gunston Hall marks the first strategic movement of the exercises”, which will last until May and will involve approximately 90,000 troops from the Transatlantic Defense Alliance.
“The exercise will demonstrate that NATO can conduct and sustain complex multi-domain operations for many months from the High North to Central and Eastern Europe and over thousands of kilometers (miles) under any conditions,” the organization reported. Nation’s.
Exercise is designed To simulate the response of a coalition of 31 countries to an attack by an opponent such as Russia. In the months before President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into Ukraine in February 2022, NATO began beefing up security on its eastern flank in its largest build-up since the Cold War.
The maneuvers will include local parallel exercises and Will extend from North America to the eastern part of NATONear the Russian border.
About 50 warships, 80 aircraft and more than 1,100 combat vehicles will participate.
These are NATO’s largest maneuvers Since the 1988 reforger exerciseIt occurred in the context of rising international tensions following the Cold War and the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
American General Christopher CavoliThe head of NATO Command for Europe indicated that 31 countries of the alliance would participate, as well as Sweden, which wished to join.
“This will be a clear demonstration of our unity, our strength and our determination to protect each other,” the soldier said.
Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral robert bauerSaid that this is “a record number of troops that we can mobilize and conduct an exercise of that size across the alliance, across the ocean, from the United States to Europe.”
Bauer called it “a huge change” compared to the number of troops practicing the exercise a year ago.
A few days earlier, the admiral had urged members of the Atlantic alliance to “expect the unexpected.” As the war grinds to a halt and US and EU funding for Ukraine’s conflict-ravaged economy is disrupted by political infighting, Bauer called for a “whole-of-society approach” to the challenge that goes beyond military planning.
“We need public and private actors to change their mindset from an era in which everything was planned, predictable, controllable and focused on efficiency, to an era in which anything can happen at any time. An era in which we must expect the unexpected,” he said, opening the meeting.
On my part, the Secretary of Defense of the United Kingdom, Grant Shappsannounced that the government in London would send 20,000 troops supported by advanced fighter jets, surveillance aircraft, warships and submarines, many of which would be deployed to Eastern Europe from February to June.
For its part, the Bulgarian government announced a few days ago that it will build roads, railway lines and oil pipelines worth 6 billion euros, which, in addition to their civilian use, can be used for the rapid deployment of NATO troops , Due to which the plans will be completed. Defense of the alliance.
“The deployment of a multinational combat group in our region has been discussed dozens or hundreds of times,” the defense minister said. Todor Tagarev.
(With information from AFP and AP)