The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Wednesday kicked off “Exercise Steadfast Defender 2024,” its largest military drills in decades.
“The dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) departed Norfolk, Virginia, United States and following a series of operations will commence her transit across the Atlantic,” NATO said, adding, “His Majesty’s Canadian Ship Charlottetown would depart Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada for Europe later this month.”
According to NATO, the drills will take place in several locations, with associated exercises running until May 31. “It will show that NATO can conduct and sustain complex multi-domain operations over several months, across thousands of kilometers, from the High North to Central and Eastern Europe, and in any conditions.”
The scale of the drills marks the bloc’s “irrevocable return” to Cold War schemes, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told RIA news agency in remarks published on Sunday.
The drills were announced last Thursday by NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe Christopher Cavoli, and will see approximately 90,000 troops from NATO’s 31 members and Sweden participating.