NATO and Russia start saber rattling now
Rapid Trident 2014 military exercises will bring together about 1.3 thousand troops from 15 countries, representative of the European command of the armed forces of the USA, Gregory Hicks, said.
Rapid Trident drills are to be held on September 16-26. According to Hicks, about 1.3 thousand troops from 15 countries, including Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain and the United States, as well as representatives of NATO will take part in the drills.
The exercises are to be held near the Ukrainian city of Lviv.
On Wednesday, September 3, United States State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki did not refute the previously distributed information that said that as many as 200 American soldiers would take part in the drills.
The exercises had been planned in advance. It would be strange if the drills were canceled, Psaki said, when asked about a possible reaction of Russia on the maneuvers. According to her, military drills are an important part of cooperation with many countries, including Ukraine.
In turn, Pentagon press secretary Stephen Warren said that in the above-mentioned drills, the United States would be represented by soldiers from the 173rd Infantry Division, based in Italy.
According to Warren, they will be "peacekeeping exercises." Their participants will not fire live ammunition. It is planned to train the skills of peacekeeping operations, such as patrolling, escorting columns and defusing explosive devices.
"A platoon of Polish troops from the 25th Air Cavalry Brigade will take part in Rapid Trident 2014 drills near Lviv," the press-secretary of the Polish Ministry of Defense Jacek Sonta said.
Norway will send two officers of the General Staff to the drills.
"Norway will be represented by two staff officers," Defense Minister of the Kingdom, Ine Eriksen Sёreyde said.
She noted that the kingdom supports military cooperation with Ukraine. At the same time, according to the press service of the Defense Ministry of the country, the head of the main operational command the Norwegian Armed Forces, General Morten Haga Lunde, will most likely not be able to attend the drills, even though the general received a personal invitation from Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Russia is planning to hold its own military drills of Strategic Missile Forces in the Altai region. The maneuvers involving the Barnaul missile formation will take place under the command of Strategic Missile Forces commander, Colonel General Sergey Karakayev.
The exercises on the border with Kazakhstan will involve more than 4,000 soldiers and about 400 pieces of equipment. The military will train counteraction to saboteurs, attacks of high precision weapons and execution of combat missions under the conditions of active electronic countermeasures. Units of special forces will be used to imitate enemy groups.
According to RBC, the military drills in Ukraine's Lviv region and in Russia's Altai will be held against the backdrop of tightening rhetoric between Washington and Moscow. Russia will most likely designate the United States and NATO as its prime enemies in the new military doctrine. Currently, the doctrine states that the main threat to Russia's security is "global terrorism." Noteworthy, President Vladimir Putin, while meeting young people at Seliger Forum, raised the issue of strengthening Russian nuclear deterrent forces.
On September 3, President Barack Obama said that there could be amendments introduced to the agreement on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and Russia. During his visit to Tallinn, Estonia, Obama said that if some parts oа the agreement do not work in light of violations on the part of Russia, then one needs to change something.
Deputy Director of the Institute of USA and Canada, Major General Pavel Zolotarev, believes that an exchange of attacks on the eve of the NATO summit means serious and long-term cooling of relations between Russia and the Alliance. "This is in the interests of the United States to set Russia against our closest neighbors and have us involved in another arms race," said the expert, denying, however, the possibility of an actual military conflict.
Noteworthy, the head of the Pentagon, Chuck Hagel, excluded a military conflict between the USA and Russia over the Ukrainian crisis. "The tension that has been rising and the escalation that has been occurring is because of one individual: the Russian president," he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly denied accusations of Russia's interference in the internal conflict in Ukraine and stated that all those accusations of the West were groundless. To date, absolutely all statements from the West and Ukraine about the interference of Russian forces remain groundless.
NATO unable to prove Russia's military presence in Ukraine