NATO to conduct largest drills in decades with 90,000 troops

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NATO will launch its most extensive military exercise in recent decades, involving about 90,000 troops, U.S. General Christopher Cavoli, the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, said on Jan. 18.

The Steadfast Defender 2024 drills will be held from late January to May with the participation of NATO members and Sweden. They will be the biggest since the Cold War, Reuters reported.

The exercises include simulated deployments of U.S. personnel to European countries on the alliance's eastern flank, as well as on-the-ground training.

"This reinforcement will occur during a simulated emerging conflict scenario against a near-peer adversary," Cavoli said.

Russia is not mentioned by name in the statement. However, in July 2023, NATO countries in a Vilnius summit communiqué called Russia the most significant threat while emphasizing that they "do not seek confrontation."

In June 2023, NATO hosted the largest military air exercises in the organization's history. Air Defender 23 included nearly 10,000 personnel and 250 aircraft from 25 countries.

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