NATO preparing for largest military drills since Cold War
NATO is seeking to conduct the biggest military drills since its inception amid heightened tensions with Russia over Ukraine.
NATO member nations are gearing up for what is being billed as the largest military exercises since the Cold War, a report by the Financial Times published on Monday said.
The drills set for spring, titled "Steadfast Defender," will involve the participation of the organization's joint command, alongside approximately 41,000 military personnel. The primary focus of these exercises is to simulate the defense against a hypothetical Russian attack on a NATO member state, as outlined by the newspaper.
The drills will span across several European nations, including Germany, Poland, and the Baltic countries.
Between 500 and 700 air combat simulations are set to be carried out over the course of the exercises. They will also feature the involvement of more than 50 aircraft.
Sweden NATO bid pending ratification
Sweden, whose prospective full membership in NATO is pending ratification from Hungary and Turkey, is expected to take part in these military exercises that come at a time of stark tensions between NATO and Moscow.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in July that Budapest was in constant consultation with Ankara on the matter pertaining to Sweden's bid to join the Western military alliance of NATO.
"In the course of the last few days, I have spoken a lot with my counterpart, the head of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, who will be holding consultations with the Swedish side and NATO representatives in the coming days," he said.
"So we will also be in close and constant contact with the Turkish Foreign Minister in the days ahead. And if some progress is made, we will keep our word that Hungary will not delay the membership of any country in NATO," Szijjarto said.
It is noteworthy that the Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Rob Bauer said earlier in the year during an interview for Portugal’s RTP TV channel that the US-led bloc is ready for "a direct confrontation with Russia."
He also claimed that NATO would only respond if Russia crossed the "red line" by "invading" one of NATO's member states.
The top military figure emphasized that NATO should be more prepared because Russia presently has the "military initiative."