first published on June 7, 2016 by Will
Anakonda 16, the largest NATO exercise in eastern Europe since the Cold War, has kicked off with 31,000 troops from 24 nations using 3,000 combat vehicles, 105 aircraft, and 12 ships. The war games will center in and around Poland, mainly, and will last 10 days.
The exercise is intended to develop interoperability with fellow NATO nations and friendly non NATO nations like Ukraine, as well as demonstrate unity with small eastern European states that are sweating Russia’s military modernization program and their recent annexation of the Crimean peninsula.
Although the exercise will only last 10 days, it is the beginning of a revamped European security program that will see continuos rotations of armored brigades of U.S. troops, and others, to the region.
The Kremlin was angered by the massive exercise, calling it a sign of deteriorating trust. Russia was equally unpleased with the recent opening of a NATO missile defense system in Romania. Yet, Russia’s recent snap exercises in Kaliningrad, in which nuclear strikes against NATO were simulated, make that statement hypocritical.