Russia and NATO have been flexing their military-power muscles for a while now, but this time it is something big.
NATO has launched its large-scale military drills in Europe amid growing Vladimir Putin’s military aggression.
These war games will include thousands of troops and are taking place in Estonia, Lithuania (both the Baltic states) and Norway. The operation, which is codenamed Dynamic Mongoose, involves forces from the United States, Britain, Germany, Latvia, Poland and Sweden.
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The military drills were launched on Monday and are expected to last for two weeks. The drills will include surface vessels, aircraft, a number of radar and sonar technologies and cyber security exercises.
“The Russians have increased their activity a lot and so have we,” explained the drills Kai Nickelsdorf, the commander of Germany’s U33 submarine, which is set to play the role of an enemy during the drills.
Dynamic Mongoose will have the largest ever NATO’s anti-submarine exercise, which is set to involve the Royal Navy, and is under way off the coast of Norway.
The reasons for such moves from NATO’s side are the recent reports of Russia’s growing presence at the Ukrainian-Russian border as well as the fact that a Russian warship and two bomber planes had flown close to UK territory in April.
Furthermore, we see the NATO’s response to the two-weeks old Putin’s attempts to test the British defenses. Two Russian ships, which invaded the English Channel, were ‘traveling’ along with a destroyer that was equipped with missiles, torpedoes and anti-aircraft guns. The UK immediately responded by sending its frigate in order to monitor the Russian vessels.
US Rear Admiral Brad Williamson, commander of the drills, said: “Russia has a right to be at sea, just as we do,” referring to the recent Russia’s invasion into foreign waters.
“But the incidents we have seen are not in line with international regulations and that’s been the cause of concern. This is not a response to that but provides relevance to the exercise,” Williamson said, as reported by The Telegraph.
British troops in the Baltic states
Meanwhile, British troops are taking part in the largest military drills in Estonia since the state regained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
British troops have joined over 7,000 local reservists in order to carry out the biggest military drills of the Baltic state.
The Baltic states are a particular concern of NATO since the Baltics could be next in Putin’s plans for a Crimea-like annexation, as David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, warned in February.
Therefore, Britain and NATO allies are trying to help the Baltics establish some kind of safety and show that the former USSR states will be protected against any threat.
The UK, in particular, will play a lead role in a ‘high readiness’ task force in Eastern Europe, as announced by Michael Fallon, the British defense secretary, a few months ago. He promised the UK would send up to 1,000 troops and Typhoon jets as part of the operation, warning of a “real and present danger” of Russia
The warplanes were deployed from Lossiemouth, Scotland to Amari airbase in Estonia. The operation will see the RAF fighter jets working together with four Norwegian aircraft based in Lithuania, and is expected to last until the end of August.
May 9: Russia vs. NATO
Do the NATO’s maneuvers have something to do with the upcoming May 9 Victory Day parade celebration in Moscow? Is this one of the deterrents to prevent Putin from being tempted to advance further into Eastern Europe?
Having 2,000 units of military hardware and about 80,000 troops gathered in one place, it might not be the easiest task to do. Especially given the fact that this is Putin we are talking about.
The May 9 parade will see the first official appearance of Russia’s cutting-edge Armata T-14 battle tank, which features a new generation 125mm extended-length smoothbore cannon – the 2A82-1M.
This year’s World War 2 anniversary will include Cuba, the only American state to take part in the event, Brazil, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Norway, all former Soviet states in the Asia-Eurasia region, and some other countries.
“The leaders who will be with Putin on the reviewing stand will not be mere guests,” wrote the opposition magazine The New Times. “For Russians it will be a map of the world which is able to confront American diktat.”
The Arctic: US makes a move
Meanwhile, the Russian aggression continues to threaten the Arctic Council. The US has recently joined other countries in an attempt to withstand the Kremlin’s territorial claims in the Artic.
The move comes as Russia initiated its major military exercise in the Arctic over a month ago. According to the Associated Press, nearly 40,000 soldiers, 100 aircraft, 41 warships and 15 submarines would carry out military drills in order to make them combat-ready.
Furthermore, the Russians are also planning to develop Arctic rescue robots, which will be able to withstand icy cold Arctic conditions and temperatures.
However, seeing the recent fighting escalation in Ukraine as well as Russia’s constant aggression, the United States President Barack Obama administration is still uncertain about providing lethal aid to Kyiv’s government, which would help end the one-year-old conflict in Ukraine.
With the upcoming Russia’s May 9 parade, the neighboring countries are concerned about the possible attacks on their sovereignty during the celebrations. And that’s understandable.