Military exercises continue in the wake of possible aggressive actions by Russia against the NATO allies. In the Baltics especially, nations like Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia want to be assured that they can face an attack from a Russian invasion force at any given time.
The U.S. and its NATO allies have recently been conducting a military exercise in Poland known as Anakonda. This drill is said to be the largest, periodic joined exercise by the Polish Armed Forces that has been conducted with its various allies and partners. Aside from the U.S., Albania, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom are also participating.
The Anakonda exercise explores various scenarios, from deploying its chemical forces to staging a counterattack to building a bridge that can allow 300 vehicles to make its way to Baltic countries in the smallest amount of time possible. Of the exercise, Gen. Mark Milley, the 39th U.S. Army chief of staff, has said that the goal is to show that they are one with the Polish army as well as NATO. Moreover, there is also a pressing need to ” ensure that all the countries of NATO remain free and independent.”
Recently, Russia has announced that it is making preparations for what is known as the “Baltic derby-2016.” It is a field training competitions involving marine units of the Russian Navy coastal troops. They will be going through training minefields along with wired and mine obstacles. Meanwhile, the highlight of the event will see a “demonstrative show” by Russia’s Baltic Fleet marines.
According to a recent report from Reuters, Lithuania Defense Minister Juozas Olekas has said exercises like this are a cause for serious concern for Baltic states. “We cannot exclude it … They might exercise on the borders and then switch to invasion in hours,” he says.
Meanwhile NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has confirmed putting up more forces in the Baltics. “We will agree to deploy by rotation four robust multinational battalions in the Baltic states and in Poland,” he explained.
Today, the U.S., Britain and Germany have agreed to deploy its troops along Baltic nations to help deter Russian aggression. As much as 4,000 troops are needed for this initiative and with the three nations committing to provide about 1,000 troops each, it is hoped that Canada will agree to provide 1,000 troops as well.
Early on, Russia had claimed that it had no plans to invade a NATO ally. Nonetheless, NATO maintains that an attack on a single member nation will be viewed as an attack on the entire alliance and will therefore be met with a collective response.