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Putin hits back at NATO war games with big Baltic exercises after West flexes muscles on Russia’s doorstep

VLADIMIR Putin has hit back at the NATO war games by staging major exercises in the Baltic Sea.

The Russian dictator has deployed 60 warships, 40 planes and 2,000 weapons units while the West is flexing its muscles on Russia’s doorstep.

Russia has sent 60 warships, 40 aircraft and 2,000 weapons units to sea

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Russia has sent 60 warships, 40 aircraft and 2,000 weapons units to seaPhoto credit: East2West
Putin is staging the war games while the West flexes its muscles on his doorstep

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Putin is staging the war games while the West flexes its muscles on his doorstepPhoto credit: East2West
Planes from Germany, Finland, Sweden and the USA fly in formation during the NATO war games

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Planes from Germany, Finland, Sweden and the USA fly in formation during the NATO war gamesPhoto credit: USS Kearsarge (LHD 3)
The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Gravely

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The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS GravelyPhoto credit: USS Kearsarge (LHD 3)

Russia’s Defense Ministry said its Baltic Fleet will “conduct training tasks for the defense of sea lanes and naval bases.”

It said: “A planned operational exercise with groups of the Baltic Fleet has begun in the Baltic Sea and at the combat training areas in the Kaliningrad region.

“As part of the exercise, Baltic Fleet tactical naval groups left their bases and deployed naval groups to designated areas.”

The Russian exercises, led by Commander Vice Admiral Viktor Liina, are intended to “increase the readiness and effectiveness of the military”.

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And according to the Russian state news agency TASS, the naval exercises “take place against the background of maneuvers by the naval forces of the NATO countries”.

Some 3,000 NATO troops are taking part in the largest-ever exercise to test their defense systems amid fears Putin’s war in Ukraine could spill over into other areas.

A total of 50 fighter jets and other aircraft have flown in from bases across Europe.

And 17 ground-based air and missile defense systems are being tested in a show of force against Putin.

The British contribution includes 100 soldiers from the 7th Air Defense Group at Amari Air Base, Estonia, and Ustka, Poland.

General Jeffrey Harrigian, commander of Allied Air Command, said: “Given the current security environment following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, large-scale training exercises like this are now more important than ever for NATO.”

Thordis Gylfadottir, Iceland’s foreign minister, warned that “the risk of direct military aggression against a NATO country can no longer be ruled out”.

And Artis Pabriks, Latvia’s defense minister, said NATO wanted to show Putin that its territory “will be defended from the first meter and will not be lost.”

The Baltic Sea, located in Northern Europe, is surrounded by the NATO member states Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

Russia resigned from the Council of Baltic Sea States last month, accusing the organization of becoming “an instrument of anti-Russian politics” and “increasingly mired in Russophobia and lies.”

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said it was important that NATO be “deeply wary” of Moscow as he does not see Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as separate countries.

He said: “He doesn’t feel compelled to push the boundaries of people.

“Whether he would be stupid or stupid enough to openly do that with a cruise missile remains to be seen, but then he would be dealing with NATO.”

The Navy exercises come amid rising tensions between Moscow and NATO after Sweden and Finland submitted their bids to join the US-led alliance following the start of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.

If their membership, currently blocked by Turkey, is approved, Russia would be the only non-NATO country on the Baltic Sea.

https://www.the-sun.com/news/5524326/putin-hits-back-nato-war-games-baltic-drills/ Putin hits back at NATO war games with big Baltic exercises after West flexes muscles on Russia’s doorstep

DevanCole

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