NATO kicks off its largest military exercise since Cold War

NATO's largest military exercise since the Cold War kicks off. The exercise comes at an important moment after Russia's military operation against Ukraine started the deadliest war on European soil in more than 70 years. Matthias Eichenlaub, a NATO spokesperson, said that NATO has launched its biggest military exercise since 1988 with 90 thousand personnel taking part in drills across the North Atlantic and Europe. The drills will rehearse NATO's execution of its regional plans, the first defense plans the alliance has drawn up in decades, detailing how it would respond to a Russian attack. Troops from the United States and fellow NATO allied nations are due to join the Steadfast Defender 2024 drills that will run through May. More than 50 ships from aircraft carriers to destroyers will take part, as well as more than 80 fighter jets, helicopters, and drones and at least 1,100 combat vehicles including 133 tanks and 533 infantry fighting vehicles. 

NATO did not mention Russia by name in its announcement. However, its top strategic document identifies Russia as the most significant and direct threat to NATO members' security.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told the state news agency that the scale of NATO's Steadfast Defender 2024 exercises marks an irrevocable return of the alliance to Cold War schemes.

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