“Next year is going to be extremely busy. Over 4,000 various types of drills and nearly 8,500 practical combat training events are scheduled. The main focus will be placed on applying expertise in the use of troops in today’s armed conflicts and training commanders to effectively address non-standard tasks,” the Russian defense minister was quoted by Tass news agency as saying.
Military forces from 31 countries began NATO’s largest exercise in decades, stretching from the Baltic Sea to Icelandy, practicing military maneuvers close to Russia, which itself held a huge military drill last month.
“Forces are in position, they are integrating and starting combat enhancement training for major battlefield operations over the next two weeks,” Colonel Eystein Kvarving at Norway’s Joint Headquarters told Reuters.
NATO allies are not likely to deploy more nuclear weapons in Europe in response to what the West says is a Russian breach of a nuclear arms control treaty that Washington is pulling out of, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.
“I don’t foresee that European allies will deploy more nuclear weapons as a response,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference in his first public comments on the issue since U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the treaty.
“The main NATO countries are increasing their military presence in the region, near Russia’s borders,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, slamming “the sabre-rattling”.
“Such irresponsible actions are bound to lead to a destabilisation of the political situation in the North, to heighten tensions,” she said, vowing Moscow would “take the necessary retaliatory measures to ensure its security.”
Admiral James Foggo, the most senior US naval officer in Europe said: “We’ve seen creation of new classes of all sorts of submarines and ships. I’m more concerned with submarine warfare. Russians have produced the new Dolgorukiy-class submarine. They’ve produced the Severodvinsk-class submarine. They’ve produced the new Kilo hybrid-class submarines.”
U.S. ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison warheads warning: “At that point, we would be looking at the capability to take out a (Russian) missile that could hit any of our countries. Counter measures (by the United States) would be to take out the missiles that are in development by Russia in violation of the treaty. They are on notice.”
Macedonia has struggled for recognition of its name since its birth in 1991 when the landlocked country declared independence from Yugoslavia. Athens protested immediately, accusing Skopje of stealing the name of its own northern province also called Macedonia. The dispute stretches back nearly three decades, with both countries claiming links to Alexander the Great’s ancient empire of Macedon, which spanned the territories.
Besa Arifi, a law professor says: “This is the first time I am seeing Macedonians and Albanians campaigning together for common goals. This will give us more opportunities to unite all citizens around shared values.”