Massive military drills from North Sea to Caucasus

Stratofortress

NATO on Oct. 17 opened an annual exercise to test nuclear deterrence capabilities in Europe, with the participation of 14 of the 30 member countries. The drill, this year dubbed “Steadfast Noon,” will run two weeks and involve 60 aircraft. “As in previous years, US B-52 long-range bombers will take part; this year, they will fly from Minot Air Base in North Dakota,”Ā NATO said in a statement. “Training flights will take place over Belgium, which is hosting the exercise, as well as over the North Sea and the United Kingdom.”

While Steadfast Noon comes amidĀ rising tensions in Europe and Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threatsĀ against Ukraine and the West, NATO said the exercise was planned before the RussianĀ invasion and “is not linked to any current world events.”

Russia’s own nuclear deterrence drills, known as GROM (Thunder), are expected to begin later this monthā€”which means they will overlap with the NATO exercise. (IFL Science, Air & Space Forces)

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has meanwhile launched a large-scale military drill along the borders of Armenia and Azerbaijan. The three-day exerciseā€”codenamed “IRGC Ground Force Might”ā€”is taking place in the northern sectors of Iran’s East Azarbaijan and Ardabil provinces. It involves parachute operations, night raids, helicopter combat maneuvers, and drone attack simulations. It has also seen construction of a temporary pontoon bridge, allowing passage of tanks and armored vehicles, over portions of the Araz River that separates Iran from Armenia and Azerbaijan. But the threat seems aimed at the latter country. Last month, Tehran warned that it would not tolerate any seizure of territory from Armenia by Azerbaijan after border clashes broke out between its two northern neighbors. (Iran International, Iran International,Ā JAM News)

Photo of B-52 Stratofortress via Wikimedia Commons

  1. World on ‘brink of nuclear war’: Russia

    The Russian Foreign Ministry said Nov. 2 it feared the world’s five nuclear powers are teetering “on the brink of a direct armed conflict” and that the West must stop “encouraging provocations with weapons of mass destruction, which can lead to catastrophic consequences.”

    “We are strongly convinced that in the current complicated and turbulent situation, caused by irresponsible and impudent actions aimed at undermining our national security, the most immediate task is to avoid any military clash of nuclear powers,”Ā the ministry said in a statement. (The Telegraph)