Alwaght- US troops joined with 25 other countries to take part in a 3,700-strong drill that has been billed as Europe’s "largest artillery exercise" since the end of the Cold War.
NATO’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, American 1st Infantry Division and German 10th Armored Division, as well as live batteries and close-air support from the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom and the US are also said to be in attendance.
The organizers of the drills say Dynamic Front is meant to prepare NATO’s artillery units for wartime operations. Major General Timothy McGuire, the deputy commanding general of US Army Europe, called it “a great readiness-building exercise,” as quoted by Stars and Stripes.
This year, the drill has nearly tripled in size compared with last year and reached its peak in post-Soviet times, Pentagon newspaper Stars and Stripes estimated.
The news comes amid reports that NATO is planning to stage another large military exercise close to Russia’s borders. General Robert Neller, Marine Corps commander, told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense “the largest amphibious exercise” Trident Juncture will take place in autumn this year, according to a live broadcast uploaded by the subcommittee.
Russian defense officials have consistently warned that NATO has significantly bolstered its military presence on Russia’s Western border over the past five years, with the buildup forcing Moscow to take retaliatory steps. “Since 2012, the strength of NATO military contingents deployed at Russia’s western borders has grown three times,” Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said in December last year.
The buildup included four NATO battalion-size tactical groups and a US armored brigade deployed in the Baltics and Poland, with the staffs of international NATO divisions in Poland and Romania. The number of engagement-ready troops has grown even more, from 10,000 to 40,000, the minister said.