The biggest war game in eastern Europe since the end of the cold war has began in Poland, as Poland and partner countries try to mount a display of strength as a response to issues about Russia’s assertiveness and actions.
The 10-day military exercise, involved with 31,000 troops and thousands of vehicles from 24 countries, has been welcomed among NATO’s allies in the region, though defence professionals notify that any accident could induce an offensive reaction from Moscow.
A defence attache at a European embassy in Warsaw stated the “nightmare scenario” of the exercise, referred to as Anaconda-2016, would be “a mishap, a miscalculation which the Russians construe, or choose to construe, as an offensive action”.
Russian jets regularly breach Nordic countries’ airspace and in April they astonishingly “buzzed” the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea.
The exercise, which U.S. and Polish officials officially launched near Warsaw, is billed as a test of cooperation between allied commands and troops in responding to military, chemical and cyber threats.
Western naval officials document that one day after aircraft carrier USS Truman and its strike group compromised ISIS targets from the Mediterranean, the advanced Russian reconnaissance airplane, the TU-124, nicknamed ‘Russian bear’ was stationed in Syria.
Western aviation professionals point out that the Russian plane was observed flying over the battle areas in Aleppo, Syria.
This is the first time, since the Russian military involvement started on October 2015, that a Russian reconnaissance airplane of this type is spotted in the area. The plane has an ISR-Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance platform that is capable to collect information on targets and direct the Russian bombers. The assumption is that the Russian brought the plane to Syria to watch the US naval attack force.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov informed reporters Monday that Russia would supply “the most active” aid to the Syrian army to keep the strategic city of Aleppo and the surrounding vicinity from falling into the hands of “terrorists.”
“What is happening in and around Aleppo now is what we had warned the Americans about beforehand – and they know it: that we will in the most active way support the Syrian army from the air not to allow the seizure of this territory by terrorists,” Lavrov stated.
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