Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov promised that Moscow would naturally “react” to the Defender Europe 20 drills, but that Russia’s response would “not create unnecessary risks.”
The first contingent of American troops and military hardware started to arrive in the northern German port of Bremerhaven on Friday to take part in NATO’s ongoing Defender Europe 20 drills that were earlier touted by the US military as “the largest deployment of US-based forces to Europe for an exercise in the more than 25 years”.
The US-led exercise involves some 37,000 troops, including about 20,000 US personnel and 20,000 American pieces of equipment. The months-long drills, which will include exercises near Russian borders in Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, have already been described by some German media outlets as a “rehearsal for an offensive against Russia”’ in the event of war.
The Pentagon called the Defender Europe 20 a drill that “demonstrates the US military’s ability to deploy a large force to support NATO and respond to any crisis”.
Lt. General Martin Schelleis, German commander of the joint support service, said for his part that the exercises should not be seen as a sign of aggression against Russia.
“Russia is not a reason for the exercise, military capabilities can only be rebuilt and maintained in the long term”, he pointed out, adding that the drills are “essentially about the transit and transportation of…