Around 50,000 personnel of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) from thirty-one member-nations and partner countries are springing to action Thursday at the start of the alliance’s Trident Juncture exercise.
The massive exercise, NATO’s largest since the end of the Cold War, takes place in and around Norway and involves about sixty-five ships, 250 aircraft and 10,000 vehicles.
The large-scaled defensive games were designed to send a “very simple message” to NATO’S adversaries, a senior Alliance commander, Major Davor Petek told the VOA.
He said: “We are ready, and we are capable to meet any possible security threat coming to our NATO borders. Nobody’s willing to mess with an alliance that has so much potential, so much capability.”
NATO said the drills are not an act of aggression, and the exercise’s commander said the alliance has invited Russia to observe.
The exercise comes with Russia and the West still bitterly divided over Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula. Some NATO countries are concerned Moscow may try to encroach on their sovereign land.