NATO holds major drills despite nearby Russian missile tests

World Today

US soldiers from the 2d Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion are pictured in a LAV-25, an eight-wheeled amphibious armored reconnaissance vehicle, during the Trident Juncture 2018, a NATO-led military exercise, on October 30, 2018 in Byneset near Trondheim, Norway. – Trident Juncture 2018, is a NATO-led military exercise held in Norway from 25 October to 7 November 2018. The exercise is the largest of its kind in Norway since the 1980s. Around 50,000 participants from NATO and partner countries, some 250 aircraft, 65 ships and up to 10,000 vehicles take part in the exercise. The main goal of Trident Juncture is allegedly to train the NATO Response Force and to test the alliance’s defence capability. (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP)

The North American Treaty Organization (NATO) said it won’t change long-made plans for a huge military exercise, despite Russia announcing it’ll carry out missile tests in the area at the same time.

CGTN’s Guy Henderson filed this report from near the exercises.

The latest additions to a growing NATO arsenal in the North Atlantic are on display.

First, we see American-made, F-35 fighter jets leading in air support. They’re followed by heavy artillery, then an amphibious assault by Dutch and Finnish Marines.

The scenario playing out is an attack on Norway by an unnamed enemy, prompting its allies to come to its defense.

This is the start of the field phase of the largest, NATO exercise in decades. Some 50,000 soldiers have been deployed to the region.

As these drills go on, Russia has announced its own plans for missile tests in the same area, over the same time period. That will make precision even more vital in the coming weeks.

Norway’s neighbor views these maneuvers as aggressive, but NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this is not a message for Moscow.

“We need to work for a better relationship with Russia,” Stoltenberg said. “Even without a better relationship with Russia, we need to manage a difficult relationship with Russia, meaning that we need more military presence, more exercises, higher tensions, we need to make sure that we prevent the incidents, accidents, misunderstandings, miscalculations, and if they happen, make sure that they don’t spiral out of control.”

The alliance is bolstering its northern forces for what it views as a necessary response to an increasing, Russian presence. NATO’s new, rapid Reaction Force at the exercises are led by a German battalion.

“The main purpose of this force is to really spark this element of deterrence so that we are willing and capable to move troops,” said General Lt. Joerg Vollmer, Head of German Army. “It’s a deterrence.”