The largest NATO maneuver since the end of the Cold War will continue until November 7 off the coast of Norway.
The NATO troops in Norway have unexpectedly received visitors from the East: During the NATO large-scale maneuver “Trident Juncture 18” off the Norwegian coast, a Russian Tupolev TU-142 flew over the command ship “USS Mount Whitney”. There was a murmur of the soldiers and journalists gathered on deck aboard the US ship as the machine – a relic of the Cold War – flew low over the ship.
I have already seen many photos of the maritime reconnaissance aircraft but never had the turboprop up close, said one of the soldiers. Maybe the Russians wanted to get an accurate picture of the “USS Mount Whitney”. The ship also dates back to the Cold War and has been used by the US Navy for almost 50 years. Equipped with the latest communication technology, it serves as the command ship of the NATO maneuver.
From the official side, NATO initially did not want to talk about a provocation from Moscow. “We’re at sea, everyone has the right to be here,” said British Admiral Guy Robinson. “These are international waters, that’s international airspace.” Of course, everything is closely monitored, so far everything has gone “safe and professional”.
However, what could still stand are missile tests, which Russia had recently announced. They are scheduled to take place during the NATO maneuver off the Norwegian coast. Norway’s Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen had said that NATO would not be “irritated” by Russia’s actions.
The largest NATO maneuver since the end of the Cold War will continue in the region until 7 November. Moscow, which in turn had held the largest military maneuver in its history in September with some 300,000 soldiers, is following the NATO exercise with suspicion. Norway shares a 200-kilometer border with Russia in the far north.
Sources: Die Presse