News / Europe

NATO Plans Major East European Exercise

FILE - NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip Mark Breedlove, attends a military conference, Budapest, Sept. 14, 2013.
FILE - NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip Mark Breedlove, attends a military conference, Budapest, Sept. 14, 2013.
Reuters
After years of fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, NATO plans a major exercise in eastern Europe in November to brush up its conventional warfare skills, but insists it is not practicing with Cold War foe Russia in mind.
 
Exercise "Steadfast Jazz" in Latvia and Poland from Nov. 2-9 shows the 28-nation alliance refocusing on its core task of defending its own territory as it winds down its long combat mission in Afghanistan.
 
"For the past 10 to 12 years we have become incredibly proficient at the counter-insurgency mission that we have been fighting in Afghanistan," NATO's military commander, U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, told a news conference.
 
If NATO were ever called on to defend an alliance member, "we have to be prepared for the more high end of military operations," he said, speaking at a NATO headquarters at Brunssum in the Netherlands on Wednesday.
 
The exercise calls for NATO forces to oust an invader. Breedlove denied it was aimed at repelling a hypothetical Russian invasion.
 
The exercise, designed to test NATO's rapid response force, will involve about 6,000 military personnel from about 20 allied and partner nations and includes air, land, naval and special forces. Multinational troops will take part in a live-fire exercise in Poland, the largest of its kind organized by NATO since 2006, NATO officials say.
 
The exercise will also involve a "sizeable cyber threat," said French Major-General Michel Yakovleff, deputy chief of staff for plans at Brunssum, with nations coming under a staged cyber attack.
 
As the alliance prepares to end combat operations in Afghanistan by the end of next year, it plans to step up training and exercises to maintain the high level of integration NATO armies have achieved through fighting alongside each other.
 
Chilly period
 
Although the days of the Cold War when huge NATO and Soviet forces confronted each other are long gone, Russia fought a brief 2008 war over two breakaway regions with Georgia, which harbors ambitions of joining NATO.
 
U.S.-Russian relations are going through a chilly patch over Moscow's decision in August to grant temporary asylum to former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden and over the Syrian civil war, although both sides struck a deal last Saturday to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons arsenal.
 
Europe and Russia are vying for influence in eastern European countries such as Ukraine, which will send an amphibious company to take part in the NATO exercise.
 
Russian President Vladimir Putin stresses the importance of a strong military. Russia and Belarus plan a joint military exercise, known as Zapad, this month.
 
NATO commanders prefer to stress cooperation with Russia.
 
"In the interests of transparency and confidence-building, we have invited Russian military officers to visit 'Exercise Steadfast Jazz' as observers and I am pleased to say the Russians have ... invited NATO officials to observe 'Exercise Zapad' which starts later this week," Breedlove said.
 
He said NATO and Russia would hold a joint exercise later this month to practice working together on tracking and responding to an aircraft hijacked by "terrorists." The alliance also plans a joint submarine search and rescue exercise with Russia in 2014, he said.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More