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Biggest war exercises of NATO to begin next week

NATO military committee meets in Brussels on January 17, 2024 (Photo by Foreign Brief)

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is going to launch its largest military drill since the Cold War next week with about 90,000 personnel set to take part in the months-long combat exercises.

Top commander of NATO General Chris Cavoli said on Thursday that the drills would 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.

Moscow has not been mentioned by name but the top strategic document of NATO identifies  Russia as the most significant and direct threat to member states.

As per the military alliance more than 50 ships, from aircraft carriers to destroyers; more than 80 fighter jets, helicopters and drones; and at least 1,100 combat vehicles, including 133 tanks and 533 infantry fighting vehicles will be taking part in the military drills.

The combat rehearsals will contain a “simulated emerging conflict scenario with a near-peer adversary,” Cavoli told reporters in Brussels after a two-day meeting of national chiefs of defense.

The war games are expected to last until the end of May.

Earlier on Wednesday the chairman of the NATO military committee Rob Bauer had warned the member states to be "ready for anything" and "expect the unexpected." 

In a meeting of NATO military chiefs in Brussels, Bauer said, “The tectonic plates of power are shifting and as a result: We face the most dangerous world in decades.”

“In order to be fully effective, also in the future, we need a war-fighting transformation of NATO,” he added.

Bauer said NATO allies need to "focus on effectiveness" and ramp up defense readiness with more joint exercises, industry partnerships and troops on high alert.

"In order to strengthen our collective defense and at the same time support Ukraine in its existential fight, we need a whole of society approach. We need public and private actors to change their mindset from an era in which everything was plannable, foreseeable, controllable, focused on efficiency ... to an era in which anything can happen at any time. An era in which we need to expect the unexpected," Bauer added.

Citing Ukraine, NATO’s Military Committee Chief noted, "Ukraine will have our support for every day that is to come because they will determine the fate of the world."

Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict NATO countries have sharply increased their military budgets. The countries have also been delivering billions of dollars of worth arms to Ukraine and have pledged to help Kiev militarily in its war against Moscow.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's war minister has told Kiev's Western allies that the military forces in the country were facing a "very real and pressing" ammunition shortage.

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