Prince to join big­gest war games against Rus­sia

Sunday Tribune - - WORLD - Sput­nik

PRINCE Harry will take part in one of Bri­tain’s big­gest 12-week-long war games against a Rus­sian in­va­sion, The Mir­ror re­ported, cit­ing mil­i­tary and Royal sources.

Although the 34-year-old Duke of Sus­sex left the Armed Forces in June 2015, he will join some 1 000 Marines in Nor­way to “pro­tect” Europe’s north­ern flank in the event of mil­i­tary strikes by Moscow, said the re­port.

Prince Harry, who served in Afghanistan, re­port­edly told his con­fi­dants that he was thrilled to be back in the mil­i­tary fold.

The Royal Marines left for Nor­way on New Year’s Day from their base at Bick­leigh Bar­racks in Devon.

Some 8 000 troops will be in­volved in the ex­er­cise, in­clud­ing sol­diers from Europe and the US.

In late Septem­ber, UK De­fence Sec­re­tary Gavin Wil­liamson an­nounced that Bri­tain sought to boost its mil­i­tary pres­ence in the Arc­tic this year amid con­cerns about “Rus­sian ag­gres­sion”.

He said the per­son­nel would be sent to Nor­way ev­ery win­ter for the next decade along­side US and Dutch marines, as well as Nor­we­gian troops.

Ten­sions be­tween Rus­sia and the UK have been sim­mer­ing since London ac­cused Moscow of stag­ing the poi­son­ing at­tack on for­mer Rus­sian in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer Sergei Skri­pal and his daugh­ter Yu­lia in Sal­is­bury last March. Moscow has con­sis­tently de­nied the al­le­ga­tions.

In early Oc­to­ber, the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment also al­leged that the GRU (Rus­sia’s in­tel­li­gence) was be­hind a se­ries of cy­ber­at­tacks on po­lit­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions, me­dia out­lets, and in­fra­struc­ture across the globe, in­clud­ing the UK.

Rus­sia dis­missed the ac­cu­sa­tions as a crude dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign.

Most re­cently, Wil­liamson sent HMS Echo, a Royal Navy ship, to the Black Sea to show London’s “sol­i­dar­ity” with Ukraine in the wake of a naval in­ci­dent in the Kerch Strait, when three Ukrainian war­ships vi­o­lated Rus­sia’s mar­itime bor­der.

While Wil­liamson said that the move was a re­sponse to Rus­sia’s “in­ten­si­fy­ing threats and ag­gres­sion”, the Rus­sian Em­bassy in London ac­cused the sec­re­tary of in­sti­gat­ing Kiev to new mil­i­tary provo­ca­tions. |

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