War in Ukraine LIVE: NATO begins the largest air exercise in its history…

6:40 am: NATO begins the largest air exercise in its history

NATO begins its most important aerial maneuvers exercise on Monday, coordinated by Germany, and intended to show the unity of its members in the face of potential threats, in particular from Russia.

The “Air Defender 23” exercise will take place until June 23 and will bring together some 250 military aircraft from 25 NATO member and partner countries, including Japan and Sweden, a candidate country for NATO membership. . Up to 10,000 people will take part in these exercises intended to strengthen interoperability and protection against drones and cruise missiles in the event of an attack on cities, airports or ports located on NATO territory.

The drill was designed in 2018, partly in response to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, though it’s not specifically targeting “anyone”, said Army Chief General Ingo Gerhartz. the German Air Force, during the presentation of the exercise. NATO is determined to defend “every centimeter” of its territory but it will not send “any flight, for example, in the direction of Kaliningrad”, the Russian enclave which borders Poland and Lithuania, members of NATO, he assured. “We are a defensive alliance and that is how this exercise is planned,” insisted the general.

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