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Iran Press TV

NATO launching biggest war games since 2002 in Europe

Iran Press TV

Sat Oct 3, 2015 7:50AM

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is reportedly launching its largest military drills in more than a decade aimed at testing the alliance's response potential amid persisting tensions with Russia.

Over 36,000 troops and civilians are expected to take part in the war games – NATO's largest since 2002 – being launched on Saturday involving 130 planes, 16 helicopters as well as 60 warships and submarines, the DPA reported.

'Its purpose is to train our forces, to increase their readiness, to make sure our allies can work seamlessly together,' NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said recently as quoted in the report.

It added that in addition to NATO member states, 14 partner and observer countries are expected to take part in the military maneuvers code-named Trident Juncture.

'The intended outcome will be ... [to show that] NATO is capable, NATO is agile and NATO is prepared for any challenge,' said the commanding officer of the drills, German General Hans-Lothar Domroese.

The exercise, which has been in the offing for over two years, "is set in a fictitious place called Sorotan," which is purportedly the victim of 'internal tensions, natural hazards and a neighbor's aggression,' the report added, citing Lieutenant General Phil Jones, who has been among those involved in NATO's planning of the drills.

It further noted that "terrorism, chemical warfare, cyber attacks, tribal rivalries, autocratic leaders and propaganda will all play a role" in the course of the war games.

The live part of the drills, however, is due to take place from October 21 to November 6 in Italy, Portugal, Spain and at sea in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean.

The German military, the report says, is taking part in the drills with 3,000 troops.

The development comes as NATO's escalating military exercises in Europe have been described as the alliance's response to the persisting crisis in Ukraine over what Kiev's Western backers refer to as Russian involvement in the conflict.

Moscow, however, has strongly denied playing any role in the Ukrainian situation.

The two mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Luhansk – known collectively as the Donbass – have witnessed deadly clashes since April last year, when Kiev decided to silence pro-Russia protests there.

Latest UN figures indicate that some 8,000 people have so far been killed in the conflict.

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