It’s the grand opening of a war games season for Kiev. 11,000 NATO troops are being deployed to Ukraine to hold joint manoeuvres alongside some 21,000 local soldiers – all at the invitation of the country’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Largest NATO Drills in a Quarter of a Century
The war games, which are partially under way at the moment, will cover land, sea, and air. The maritime part features “Sea Breeze” – a simulation which will bring together 30 ships, 30 warplanes and 1,400 troops representing 27 nations. Prior to 2014, NATO staged “Sea Breeze” in Crimea, but even after the region re-joined Russia following a referendum, the scenarios haven’t changed much and still revolve around the peninsula.
Ukrainian military personnel are also taking part in other manoeuvres – the “Defender Europe-2021”. The largest exercise of the kind in the past 25 years is being carried out simultaneously in 16 European countries, with the main locations being close to the Balkans and the Black Sea region.
During the first stage of “Defender Europe”, which is called “Swift Response”, 7,000 troops from 11 countries took part in missions across Eastern Europe – from Bulgaria to Romania, as well as in Estonia. The second stage of the drills is called “Immediate…