ABOARD HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH (AP) – As tensions with Russia ease, thousands of NATO troops, several warships and dozens of aircraft are participating in military exercises that stretch across the Atlantic, through Europe and into the Black Sea region .

The war games, called Steadfast Defender 21, aim to simulate the response of the 30-nation military organization to an attack on one of its members. It will test NATO’s ability to deploy troops from America and keep supply lines open.

In recent years, the United States and its allies have deployed troops and equipment in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to support the reassuring neighboring members of Russia that their partners will ride to the rescue in the event that they are attacked.

Russia’s decision last month to deploy thousands of troops to the border area with Ukraine raised concerns over the military alliance that launched one of its largest defense spending initiatives of all time after Russian troops annexed the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine in 2014.

The best NATO officials insist that the military exercises, which involve around 9,000 soldiers from 20 nations, do not specifically refer to Aiming at Russia, but focusing on the Black Sea region, where we are accused of Russia d to have blocked the free movement of ships.

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the exercises send an important message to any potential adversary: ​​”NATO is ready.”

“NATO is there to defend all of our allies, and this exercise sends a message about our ability to transport large numbers of troops and equipment across the Atlantic, across Europe and also to project sea power, “Stoltenberg told The Associated Press on board a British aircraft carrier off the coast of Portugal.

That Ship, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, is the pride of the British Navy. It is making its maiden voyage and carrying 18 F-35 jets: the first deployment of so many 5th generation aircraft on board an aircraft carrier.

The ship’s presence, which is part of a 6-7 month deployment that it will run south past India, through Southeast Asia to the Philippines Sea, partly aims to restore the tarnished image of Great Britain as a global superpower since it left the European Union.

Adorned with high-tech US jets and from Flanked warships from other NATO countries, the carrier strike force is also an important symbol of unity as the world’s largest security organization tries to recover from four turbulent years under the Trump administration.

Stoltenberg will be in Brussels on June 14th chair a NATO summit. Current US President Joe Biden and his colleagues aim to usher in a new era of transatlantic cooperation as troops abandon their longest mission in Afghanistan as tensions with Russia mount and increasingly China, Berg.

The war games take place in two new NATO command centers in place, one in Norfolk, Virginia; the other in Ulm, Germany. Part of the focus of the first phase was on protecting the undersea cables that carry a lot of trade and communications data between the US and Europe.

“We all weighed in and thought the Atlantic was a benevolent region in nothing bad was going on and we could just use it as a free highway, “said Norfolk’s commander, Vice Admiral of the US Navy, Andrew Lewis.

” There are nations that are mapping these cables. You can do another bad thing. We have to be aware of this and respond to it, ”he told reporters.

NATO says its policy towards Russia is based on two pillars: strong military deterrence and dialogue. High-level meetings between the two historical enemies are rare, however, and European officials are insisting that President Vladimir Putin become increasingly authoritarian and distance himself from the West.

“We are ready to sit down with Russia because we are for it important to keep speaking, especially in difficult times, “said Stoltenberg. “The biggest challenge now is that Russia has not responded positively to our invitation or our initiative to meet the NATO-Russia Council,” so their main consultation forum.

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