Poland kicks off major military exercise amid tensions with Russia

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Poland Military

Poland Military

Poland on Tuesday set to launch a large-scale military exercise, a move likely to further strain relations with Russia one month before Warsaw hosts a NATO summit.
It said that many of the Western military alliance’s member states would participate in the Polish-led exercise, codenamed Anakonda-16.
“Poland expects 31,000 soldiers to train during the 10-day event, the largest ever held by its armed forces.
“Dozens of fighter jets and ships are due to take part, along with 3,000 vehicles.
“The U.S. is expected to provide the biggest contingent of foreign troops, while non-NATO countries such as Ukraine and Georgia have also been invited,’’ it added.
The show of force came at a time when relations between Moscow and the West have hit a post-Cold War low over Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.
NATO leaders would consider during their summit in Warsaw on July 8 to 9 whether to deploy battalions to Poland and the Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – as part of their response to Russia’s actions.
Moscow has repeatedly warned that NATO’s eastward expansion threatens its national security.
Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksey Meshkov said on Thursday that the military exercise being conducted in Poland and another being held in Lithuania were destabilising.
He charged that the main aim of the manoeuvres is to stoke tensions along the Russian border.
Anakonda exercises have taken place in Poland every two years since 2006.
Some NATO countries have been keen to portray this year’s event as a signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin, but others notably Germany would prefer to play down tensions with Moscow.
“In the long run, we just have to understand that Russia is our biggest neighbour.
“We have to relate to Russia and we have to work with Russia,’’ NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday at a Brussels event held by the Politico media outlet. (dpa/NAN)

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