Military & intelligence

US-Led Astral Knight 2024 Military Drills Saber-Rattle Near Russia’s Border

Polish soldiers take up positions during military drills of Polish and NATO soldiers near the Vistula Spit canal, near Krynica Morska, northern Poland on April 17, 2023.

Amid bellicose rhetoric from Paris and London regarding the possibility of sending soldiers to Ukraine and massive NATO drills near Russia’s borders, the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces on Tuesday announced that it was preparing drills to practice the use of non-strategic nuclear weapons.The US-led multinational integrated air and missile defense exercise Astral Knight 2024 kicked off near the border with Russia’s Kaliningrad region, Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh stated at a briefing on May 7. With scheduled live-fly operations across the territories of Poland and the Baltic countries, the two-week drills are set to involve around 5,000 personnel from six participating nations – the US, UK, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. Denmark and Greece will observe the exercise. Over 50 aircraft will be involved in the drills that are “part of the Defense Department’s large scale global exercise 2024 program,” according to the Pentagon press secretary.Analysis‘Russia’s Not Bluffing’: Tactical Nuke Drills are Deafening Warning to NATO to Stay Out of Ukraine6 May, 17:35 GMTThe Astral Knight 2024 saber-rattling comes in lockstep with the torrent of bellicose statements from Western officials about deploying troops to Ukraine. Russia parried by announcing tactical nuclear missile drills on Monday. The training exercises will be held in response to “provocative threats by Western nations against Russia,” Moscow underscored.The forthcoming exercises involving missile units of the Southern Military District will feature aviation as well as naval forces, and are to be held on instructions from Supreme Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin, the Russian Defense Ministry said.The drills are aimed at increasing “the readiness of non-strategic nuclear forces to carry out combat missions,” according to the ministry’s statement.Amid the West’s escalating anti-Russian hysteria, the current US-led exercise, like NATO’s large-scale Steadfast Defender drills, are a clear indication that the alliance is preparing for a “potential conflict” with Russia, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Saturday.RussiaRussia’s General Staff Preparing for Drills to Practice Use of Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons6 May, 07:07 GMT

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