NATO's largest military exercise since the end of the Cold War, "Steadfast Defender 2024", is underway. This military exercise caused a large number of reactions, especially from the Russians, who consider this a red alert and a message from NATO. Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, NATO members have firmly sided with Ukraine. Military and political experts ask the question; What is the purpose of this exercise, and is this a warning to Russia?!
90,000 soldiers from each of the 31 members of the Alliance are participating in various maneuvers; on land, at sea, and in the air. The exercise lasts four months. This kind of military exercise is something we have never had the chance to see in recent history.
In the second phase of the exercise, starting from mid-February until the end of May, exercises will be held mainly on land and in the sky, involving up to 80 aerial scenes such as F-35 fighter jets, helicopters, and drones, and more than a thousand combat vehicles, including 166 tanks.
NATO intends to conduct more and more such exercises, all to be ready for eventual events in the future. NATO members know that the situation in the world is chaotic and that they must stick together.
The Steadfast Defender 2024 exercise is NATO's first real opportunity to test aspects of its new defense plans, which were agreed at the alliance's summit in Vilnius last July.
Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman for the Security Council of Russia, reacted to such exercises via social media. Medvedev is not the only one who believes that NATO is sending a clear message to Russia. Many politicians in Russia, as well as ordinary citizens, believe that NATO's intentions are clear. Medvedev emphasized that Russia has no intention of attacking NATO members. However, if one of the countries decides to directly attack Russia or be more involved in helping Ukraine, the cosequences could follow.
"We are not going to attack any country in this bloc," Medvedev wrote on social media. "All reasonable people in the West understand this. But if they play too hard and encroach on the integrity of our country, they will instantly receive an adequate response."
Medvedev warns that if NATO violates certain things, there could be great chaos and a response from Russia. In addition, Medvedev emphasizes that help from NATO members and other countries to Ukraine may become the reason why those countries will become a legitimate military target. Dmitry is crystal clear about the consequences that could follow.
"This will mean only one thing - a big war, from which NATO will no longer turn away. The same thing will happen if any NATO country begins to provide its airfields to [Stepan] Bandera's supporters or quarters its troops with neo-Nazis. They will certainly become a legitimate target for our Armed Forces and will be mercilessly destroyed as enemies. All helmets with NATO symbols who today swaggeringly rattle their weapons not far from our borders should remember this."- he said, as quoted by newsweek.com
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova reacts
Medvedev, as we have already said, is not the only one who reacted to NATO's military exercises. Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova emphasized in a media interview that NATO wants to provoke Russia in this way. Namely, NATO will 'march' near the Russian border. She believes that such provocations can influence the Russians to send a response. Europe could experience a catastrophic outcome if the 'policy of provocations' continues, Zakharova emphasizes.
"For several months, a 90,000-strong group of forces from 31 NATO member countries, as well as Sweden, will be actively operating near Russian borders on the territory from Norway to Romania," she said. "This step is deliberately aimed at escalating things. It increases the risk of military incidents and could ultimately lead to tragic consequences for Europe."- Zakharova said.
At this moment, there is indeed a fear that things could escalate in Europe and the world. The situation in Ukraine has been ongoing for a while, and based on the current conditions, it may continue for an extended period.
NATO's military exercises are a clear message to Russian leaders. NATO aims to prove and show its military power. Although the Russians emphasize that they do not feel fear, they certainly have a fear of seeing such a strong military force 'on their doorstep'. Ordinary citizens of Europe are in fear because they believe that the Russians will send a response if NATO continues with the same policy.
Ukrainians, on the other hand, hope for even stronger reactions from NATO, all to stop the war in Ukraine. The conflict in the Middle East also does not inspire optimism that things will be good in the future.