Poland, NATO states hold ma­jor drill

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

WARSAW , Poland (AP)—Poland and many NATO mem­bers are launch­ing their big­gest ever joint ex­er­cise in Poland as cen­tral and eastern Euro­pean na­tions are seek­ing strong se­cu­rity guar­an­tees among con­cerns about Rus­sia’s as­sertive­ness and ac­tions.

Of­fi­cials opened the Pol­ish­led Ana­conda-16 ex­er­cise Mon­day dur­ing a cer­e­mony in Warsaw. It will in­volve some 31,000 troops from Poland, the U.S. and 17 other NATO mem­ber na­tions and from five part­ner na­tions, ac­cord­ing to Poland’s mil­i­tary Op­er­a­tional Com­mand that is or­ga­niz­ing and co­or­di­nat­ing the ex­er­cise.

Rus­sia says that any pres- ence of NATO troops close to its bor­ders is a threat to its se­cu­rity and re­cently warned it will take mea­sures to re­spond. It hasn’t com­mented on the ex­er­cise open­ing Mon­day.

Poland and other na­tions in the re­gion, as well as NATO lead­ers, are stress­ing that any mil­i­tary pres­ence or ex­er­cises are purely de­fen­sive and de­ter­rent mea­sures fo­cused on threats from the Mid­dle East.

The drill is part of NATO’s ex­er­cise pro­gram and is held just weeks be­fore NATO holds a cru­cial sum­mit in Warsaw ex­pected to de­cide that sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of NATO troops and equip­ment will be based in Poland and in the Baltic states.—AP

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