NATO’s Largest Military Drills In Decade Welcome Russia

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NATO is going to carry out its largest military drills in over 10 years, focusing on battling ISIS, according to NATO commanders.

NATO forces will be deployed across the Mediterranean, while Russia is invited to observe the drills. It is unclear whether this is some kind of ruse or NATO just wants to show off in front of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Alliance’s largest military drills named ‘Trident Juncture’ will be carried out from September 28 to November 6 in Spain, Italy and Portugal as well as in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

According to NATO commanders, it will be one of the Alliance’s most difficult military drill plans yet. The drills will be aimed at training and testing the NATO Response Force, which is a high readiness militarily advanced and well-trained unit that includes land, aerial and maritime forces.

The military drills will also include an “artificial threat scenario” on the ground, sea, as well as in the air.

“We cannot choose between the eastern threat and the southern threat, we have to train for both,” said commander of the NATO military command in Brunssum, Netherlands General Hans-Lothar Domrose, who is in charge of the exercise, as quoted by Reuters.

NATO kills two birds with one stone

The move thus proves that the West is now facing two ‘existential threats’ Russia and ISIS. And while Russia is invited to observe the major event, NATO is likely to kill two birds with one stone, showing off its military might in front of both ISIS and Russia.

As announced by the commanders, about 36,000 personnel from more than 30 countries will take part in the exercises, including countries that are not in the Alliance such as Australia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Macedonia, Sweden as well as Ukraine.

“Distance is a new factor. We will be working in a huge training area,” Domrose said. “We will focus on speed, on multiple threats, simultaneously.”

While Russia has not yet confirmed its participation as an observer, the European Union, the African Union as well as some other international humanitarian organizations have given their confirmation.

And while NATO is preparing for the drills, it is also working on the effectiveness of its rapid reaction force that is expected to consist of several thousand soldiers in order to be deployed anytime anywhere.

In September 2014, the Alliance pledged to develop its high readiness force in Europe, especially paying particular attention to the borders with Russia.

Besides, the Pentagon has recently announced about its plans to station 250 tanks and other armored vehicles in Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. There were also reports of NATO’s plans to station some of its heavy military equipment in Germany.

Over 10 years ago, NATO carried out a military exercise of such large scale, in which 15 members of the Alliance as well as 12 other partnering nations took part. The military drills took place in Norway and Poland in 2002.

The NATO’s commanders also revealed that the Alliance’s naval forces will aid in dealing with the migrant boat crisis in the Mediterranean Sea during the exercise. Apparently, NATO is concerned over the growing number of people escaping major conflicts in Syria and North Africa.

“If there is a crisis in the vicinity of one of our ships … we will stop the exercise and give humanitarian help,” Domrose said. “We will not let people die.”

Will the Americans calm Putin down?

In over a year, it is the first time when NATO does not focus its military drills on Russia’s threats, let alone lets Putin to observe the drills.

“We invite international observers. [We have] no secrets, the secret is, what decisions I take, but everything else is transparent. And my decisions during the exercise would be transparent, as soon as I take them. The Russian Federation and all others who have expressed interest will be invited,” Domrose stated.

The growing threat and instability coming from the terror network operating in Iraq and Syria has forced NATO to look away from Russia even though it is no less threatening than ISIS, according to Domrose.

Domrose added that the kind of threats coming from ISIS are aimed at changing geographical boundaries, as the terrorist network widely uses social media as a way of propaganda to initiate terrorist attacks across the planet.

However, it does not mean NATO is going to loosen its grip on Russia. The indication of that is the recently carried out military drills close to Russia’s borders that were named “Agile Spirit 2015.” The drills began in Georgia on July 8 and included soldiers from six countries.

Another large-scale NATO military drills took place this summer and included no less than 49 vessels from 17 countries, with 5,600 troops participating in the BALTOPS exercises in the Baltic Sea in June. The drills started in the Polish port of Gdynia on June 5 and continued until June 20.

The reason why NATO has not fully shifted its focus to ISIS instead of Russia is because there is always a high possibility of Putin making sudden moves.

Putin’s strategy is sudden and irrational. And the proof of that is his decision to order Russian troops to take over Crimea in 2014 as well as his ongoing efforts to tear apart Ukraine with the help of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine.

However, as of today, the Obama administration is not particularly concerned over Putin’s growing appetite, which raises the question: during the presidential election of 2016, will the Americans elect the leader that is able to calm Mr Putin down?

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About the Author

Polina Tikhonova
Polina Tikhonova is a writer, journalist and a certified translator. Over the past 7 years, she has worked for a wide variety of top European, American, Russian, and Ukrainian media outlets. Polina holds a Master's Degree in English Philology from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the Saint Petersburg State University. Her articles and news reports have been published by many newspapers, magazines, journals, blogs and online media sources across the globe. Polina is fluent in English, German, Ukrainian and Russian.

30 Comments on "NATO’s Largest Military Drills In Decade Welcome Russia"

  1. Did you here about 2 Russian bombers that were flying 39 miles away from Cali unnoticed until Russian bomber pilots said . Good morning American pilots , we are here to greet you on your 4th of July independence day” Sr. General of us confirmed it.

  2. using a movie character name Polina? come one use your real name Polina we all know you are a gay man why hide in a pen name Polina? lol

  3. Peter Arhangelsky | Jul 22, 2015, 5:52 am at 5:52 am |

    Tatars are only 12% of Crimea population and not all Tatars are against Russian annexation, they were not happy with Ukrainian government as well.

    Kiev alienated Crimea through past decade and it resulted in it’s people will to leave Ukraine for good. Are you aware that 75% of Ukrainian troops who served in Crimea enlisted in Russian military after takeover?

  4. Bud…. Russian military drills dwarf (literally ) the biggest Nato drills . They laughed at this invitation “we have our own drills to watch after .

  5. You meant the state of the art Iskander Missiles that don’t have any analogs in the world ? Or the su-34 tactical bombers ? Or Armata Tanks ? T90 tanks ? S400 and air missiles ? ? Outdated are these American news links . Americans never hear about anything of anyone’s military tech other than their own . “Outdated” that’s funny because US Millitary hasn’t been updated in 15-20 years . Or the F35 that can climb , can shoot , can’t fly . Fat blob of anti aerodynamic metal .

  6. ISIS is not an existential threat to the West. Putin, however, is definitely and existential threat to the world.

  7. Won’t happen as long as the US State Dept. keeps installing ” Their People ” in the KYIV government. Russians see a super power with boots on the ground in west Ukraine and the last one that did it was – Adolph and his army. Russians will do everything in their POWER – to stop what they see is a foreign army -from re taking – Stalingrad. Ever since I have lived in Ukraine and Russia – there are WWII movies on daily TV of the Great War and if you see how charged these people are during Victory Day – which lasts a week – you would understand what a foreign army in Ukraine Means. Americans don’t understand this – they didn’t lose 15 million. Spasibo Adam

  8. He didn’t need to poll too far Pete – 1/2 the population is Russian in the Crimea and pretty much Russia wasn’t going to wait around for the US backed Kyiv to cancel the 40 year lease to the Russian fleet. It was a move any intelligent leader would do for his country and the security of it – Hell America starts wars all around the world and tells Americans — its for National Security LOL. I’m the only American I know left here in Crimea – been here for years – Crimea is a cool place !

  9. You better take a look at what Putin to the city of Grozny in the Chechyna II war – and he had 3 Generals killed in those battles – Last time an American pus General died in combat was WWII –

  10. I doubt if Pres Putin is interested in a joint scam to look like you are beating ISIS. The Chechnya II wars showed how the Russians take care of Muslim problems and the West would certainly not wipe an entire city off the map – as was done to Grozny. Plus , Washington politicians and stock holders make tons of money off the Wars while the citizens pay for it . Its hard to call because America made such a mess in the Middle East and now they need a joint army to help them – Eventually America will duff out and leave the mess for someone else to clean up. And Russia is the bad guys LOL

  11. Putin might get scared, he won’t attend this massive military drill for sure! lol We know how egotistical and self conceited Putin is! Watch your enemy enumerates how they will beat you in a massive attack is quite a chill to the bones for Putin and his wimp generals! lol

  12. No, your propaganda stories are but too shady to be true! lol

    Russia did infiltrate, spreads disinformation to the Russian speaking East Ukrainians stirring discontent against Kiev probably of promising better life conditions with greater benefits if they abandon Ukraine sovereignty in exchange to returning to mother-Russia. See, we know how KGB style information manipulation works! Come on, the Tatars never welcomed Russian forces that are occupying Crimea, but “unidentified” troops from Russia simply crossed borders and took over that region like stealing an object while its owner is looking somewhere! We also know that the referendum was a mere fabrication with bogus voting results! The suppression is obvious with all sorts of freedom stripped from its residents. But we also know that Putin is paying the price for it now that Russia’s economy is in a slump putting Russia’s military spending in a unprecedented cut backs cancelling T-50 PAK FA’s procurement plans, cutting down the purchase of 2,000 Armata tanks to only 230 till 2020 and so fort. Putin simply failed to assess and see how the West will respond, and now he messed Russia up tremendously.

  13. That is one massive military drill. 36,000 personnel! I want to be an observer just to see the massive military movement. I’d bet Putin won’t see this and get intimidated by NATO’s alliance forces! lol

  14. Saying US voters may consider a president that could stop Putin /Russia militarily in their next election is a total BS. The military inne caucus must be convinced first that they are pursueing a reasonable course and they can achieve it afterall the president is only in the air-conditioned room enjoying himself . Afterall the real security of a country lies with the military, not the president. The voters are conscious of the level the president c an maneuver even if he has the final say.

  15. It is a funny and myopic mentality to always think that it is the president that decides if a country should go to war. Otherwise why is that the saviour of Cuba missile strike by Russia on US was a military chief refusal out of the 3 military chiefs that suppose to approve it. Why not president?. It is time you morons should not always nail the president for all the country’s woes. President is just one of the inner caucus that takes decision. If the president should ignore them he is doomed .

  16. What exactly is outdated in Russia? High tech tank T-14 that even Germans agreed there is no match, the new ICBM’s? T-50 jet that is more agile than F35. Or maybe the outdated Russian force who moved in to Crimea without a single shot overtook it and disable the Ukrainian army? Why is NATO scrambling everything, all it’s none outdated junk moving it closer to Russian boarders? Because of Russia’s incapability? Read a book, will ya?

  17. Lmao. You don’t have a clue. and never will!

  18. That’s great! Let the enemy see your tactics . Real smart. All is lost do to the wests fear of Russia.

  19. Peter Arhangelsky | Jul 21, 2015, 8:54 am at 8:54 am |

    Putin’s strategy is sudden and irrational.I would argue that. Sudden – yes. Irrational -no. This guy is calculating all his moves. Before taking over Crimea Russian secret service conducted a secret opinion poll there and when realised that majority of population will welcome Russian annexation they striked with precision.

  20. Learn how to make a statement that we can understand.

  21. The world can not allow any country, including Russia, to take a sovereign country by forces and say now it’s time for peace. Russia get the hell out of the Ukraine and peace will prevail.

  22. Who says, a Russian troll. If so, you are funny.

  23. Greater numbers of outdated equipment is no match versus smaller numbers of technically superior equipment..

  24. Last week , Russia has responded to this invitation with – lol , whats the point of sitting there and watching ??? we have our own drills to watch , that dwarf the biggest ones in Nato ….

  25. disqus_t8zg0f4HzM | Jul 21, 2015, 4:01 am at 4:01 am |

    Just kick out the Russians from all of the Ukraine. Remove Russian bases from Crimea. That’s it.

  26. Donald said he will be pal with Putin…stupid kurt miller.

  27. My message to the Ukrainian and Russian people is to recognize that it is long past time you started to reach a peace which eventually you need to do. Since you are destroying the Ukraine and seriously hurting Russia you need to recognize that this waring is only serving others at your cost. The price you are paying is not worth it no matter what.
    Come to some kind of an agreement and try to mend your relationships. I would like to suggest that perhaps you can recognize that Russia has a huge investment in the Ukraine and its people. It is maybe not perfect but I do not see many of options here.
    Since the people living in the Eastern Ukraine have close connections to Russia and the international community will not allow them to separate, it would make a lot of sense to focus on accommodation of Russian interests in this area of the Ukraine by agreement and bring peace and civil law back into the region. Take it out of the hands of those that would have you waring against your own countrymen and save your nation. America went through a civil war for the benefit of foreigners which resulted in financially destroying much of the South, killing around half a million Americans by Americans, putting the South under occupation of exploiters for over twelve years and much more suffering by those that did not deserve to suffer. We all lost and the scars are still there. You can do much better than that. Save your country.

  28. Things Ding Dee hates….. 1. NATO 2. Women not in the kitchen 3. Gays 4. Ukrainians 5. Freelance writers
    Hmmm…your not say… Russian are you?

  29. NATO to show off military might to Russia? is that a joke! Polina Tikhonova go back to the kitchen you don’t know anything about military you are just a freelance gay writer from Kiev.

  30. I would love to see Putin get thrown into a room with The “Donald”.

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