Russia-NATO Tensions Spark Massive Military Exercises

While tensions with Russia and the rest of the world continue to be tense, NATO has begun military exercises in the Atlantic. Thousands of troops, multiple warships, and aircraft are practicing maneuvers from Europe through the Black Sea area.

Steadfast Defender 21

The exercise, Steadfast Defender 21, goal is to practice the response of the 30 nation's military forces to an attack. No matter who is attacked, the forces band together to defend them.

Over the years, the U.S. and other allies have sent forces and supplies to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland in a show of support in the case that Russia attacks. This early support assures the nations that NATO forces will be there when they need them the most.

Recent Russian behavior has raised some concerns for their neighbors and NATO. A month ago, they sent thousands of troops to the border of Ukraine. This move was the largest military moves Russia has made since 2014.

NATO Initiatives

NATO is insistent that the maneuvers are necessary, though they are not entirely because of Russia. Heads of NATO are concerned about the Black Sea Region in general.

Russia is accused of blocking the ships in the area. NATO Secretary- General Jens Stoltenberg says the war games send a message. "NATO is ready."

“NATO is there to defend all our allies, and this exercise sends a message about our ability to transport a large number of troops, equipment across the Atlantic, across Europe and also to project maritime power.” 

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg

HMS Queen Elizabeth

The HMS Queen Elizabeth is on its first voyage carrying 18 F-35 jets, marking the first time that many of those planes have been on an aircraft carrier at once. The carrier will be deployed for up to 7 months. Its voyage is part of a mission to re-establish Britain's military prowess since it left the European Union.

It also is a display of unity. The carrier has U.S. jets and is surrounded by NATO warships for member countries. Stoltenberg and President Joe Biden on June 14.

“We’re ready to sit down with Russia because we think it’s important to talk, especially when times are difficult. The main challenge now is that Russia has not responded positively to our invitation, or our initiative, for a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council.” 

Secretary-General Stoltenberg
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