Russia criticized the major NATO exercise that began on January 31 as a final return of the transatlantic military alliance to Cold War times. An exercise of this magnitude marks NATO's final and irrevocable return to Cold War standards, when the military planning process, resources and infrastructure were prepared for a confrontation with Russia, said the deputy foreign minister, Alexander Grushko.
The maneuver is another element of the hybrid war that “the West has unleashed against Russia,” Grushko told state news agency RIA in statements published today. NATO will begin its biggest maneuver in decades next week.
Around 90,000 soldiers are expected to participate in the “Steadfast Defender 2024” exercise, which runs until May. According to the information, the objective is to practice sending American soldiers to support European troops in countries bordering Russia and on NATO's eastern flank, in the event of a conflict with an equally strong adversary.
No mention of Russia by name
NATO did not mention Russia by name when announcing the exercise. However, the defense alliance's central strategic document names Russia as the biggest threat to the security of NATO countries.
Since the start of the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian leadership has repeatedly accused the “collective West” of waging a “hybrid war” against Russia, supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russia's war of aggression with financial and military aid.