The Trident Juncture exercise that started on Saturday and will continue all week, will test NATO's ability to coordinate and execute a NATO-led Article 5 collective defense operation in a multinational environment. Estonian troops will also take part.
Led by Joint Force Command Naples, it also serves to certify the 15th rotation of the NATO Response Force (NRF) under high-intensity, war fighting conditions.
"The real-world developments give us the full mandate and obligation for robust exercises in the Alliance. There is no doubt that these exercises are a major part of NATO's visible assurance and will contribute significantly to our new readiness requirements. The Wales Summit in September has tasked the military authorities with a Readiness Action Plan, which points out to an enhanced exercise program with an increased focus on exercising collective defense,“ said Major General Reinhard Wolski, the director and commander of the NATO Joint Warfare Center.
The exercises are being conducted at various locations across Europe and more than 1,000 military and civilian personnel will participate, including an Estonian cooperation unit.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced its annoyance at the exercises on Tuesday.
“It is evident that our colleagues from NATO are set to continue military pressure on Russia, which is unlikely to make Europe safer,” Sergei Koshelyev, the head of the Defense Ministry’s department for international military cooperation, told journalists, according to Russian media agency RIA Novosti.
“In the past six months, the alliance has held five exercises to amass various forces near the Russian border, including NATO rapid response forces,” Koshelyev added.
Koshelyev and later the Russian media agencies misled the public, by saying that the NATO exercises are conducted in Estonia proper, whereas in actual fact, they are taking place in Italy, Norway, France, Poland, and at sea.
“From the geographical point of view, Estonia, where the exercises are being conducted, is bordered by only ‘small friendly countries’ with the exception of the Russian Federation,” Koshelyev said to Russian media.