Russia has slammed an upcoming NATO military exercise set to take place in the ex-Soviet Baltic republics that centers around a “foreign invasion” of Poland and represents the organization’s biggest training drill since the Cold War.
Entitled Steadfast Jazz 2013, the drill will test the command and control elements of NATO’s Response Force in response to a simulated invasion of Poland by a “foreign power”. The exercise, set to take place in November, will also be held in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Planning for the drill began over a year ago.
Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov complained that the NATO drill invoked cold war tensions.
“I can’t hide the fact that the Russian Defense Ministry was bewildered by the proclaimed goal of this exercise, which envisages the application of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty triggering a response to an aggression against Poland. These drills are in the spirit of the Cold War,” Antonov told RIA Novosti.
The exercise represents NATO’s largest training drill since the Cold War and is in response to the “real fear of external aggression” in that region of Europe, according to the Heritage Foundation.
Although expressing anger over NATO wargames which ostensibly simulate a Russian attack on Poland, Russia itself has conducted drills over the past two weeks that also represent their biggest such military exercises since the Cold War.
As we reported on Tuesday, Russia ordered its missile defense forces in the Urals region to conduct a “snap drill” involving the redeployment of missile units in order to achieve “high alert” readiness within a short time frame.
This followed the largest military exercises since the Soviet era last week which involved 130 combat aircraft, 70 ships, 5,000 tanks, 160,000 troops and 320 tons of equipment. The drill, which took place near the border with China, “was intended to simulate a response to a hypothetical attack by Japanese and US forces,” according to Konstantin Sivkov, a retired officer of the Russian military’s General Staff.
Having recently intercepted Russian strategic bombers that were practicing “bombing runs against U.S. and Japanese military bases” in the Western Pacific, it was reported today that Japan is set to dispense with its pacifist constitution and consider “acquiring the ability to launch pre-emptive military strikes.”
Russia’s displeasure at NATO wargames so close to its border follow the former Soviet state’s decision to develop a new missile defense radar in southern Russia designed to counter missiles launched from Europe, as part of maneuvers which pose, “a strategic threat to the United States and NATO allies,” according to US military officials.
Russia is also working on a new generation of nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles called the Yars-M which “Russian officials say will be able to penetrate U.S. missile defenses.”
Last year, Russia threatened to conduct military strikes against NATO targets in Poland and Romania if missile defense radars were deployed in eastern Europe. NATO and the US claim the missile defense system is to counter Iran, but many geopolitical analysts concur that it is primarily aimed at Russia.