The massive drills that NATO is reportedly conducting in Poland are worsening the already ripe conflict with Russia. Is Cold War 2.0 really happening?
NATO’s Massive Force
NATO has just conducted one of its largest exercises since the Cold War near Wedrzyn in western Poland. Around 30,000 troops, ships, aircraft and several vehicles from around 20 countries participated in the said war games.
According to NBC News, the drills are part of the alliance’s initiatives to show might and deter Russia’s actions near Ukraine. Russia and NATO’s relations have degraded since the annexation of Crimea. In line with this, the Kremlin was quick to condemn the drills.
“In any case, the war games … do not contribute to the atmosphere of trust and safety on the continent,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s press secretary Dmitry Peskov.
Western officials defended that the exercises offered them avenue to test processes and systems. Likewise, it can also build relationships in advance of the NATO summit this July.
“We have 30,000 soldiers in Europe. We used to have 300,000 and we still have the same mission — to deter Russia,” said commanding general of U.S. Army Europe, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges.
Lt. Col. Michael Wagner shared that they have been exposed to different troops and conditions.
“Over the course of this time that we’ve been here in Poland, for the last week and a half, we’ve worked with Italians, we’ve worked with Polish, including flying on Polish aircraft,” he said. “What we’re really trying to do is to develop an understanding and ability to work together before we actually have to in real life.”
Putin Sees Things Differently
Putin, on other hand, clarified what the conflict is all about. According to the president, EU is Russia’s friend but the real problem is NATO. According to a report from RT, the United States has been using NATO to create a divide between EU and Russia. Instead, Putin offered a different picture from what has been happening.
Likewise, Jean-Claude Juncker also sees things differently. According to the European Union Commission President, “for the European Union and Russia, the prize, one day, could be great: a vast region governed by the rule of law, trading freely and working together on common projects.”