Despite tensions with Russia: NATO announces major military exercise

Status: 01/22/2022 09:48 a.m

The US has announced major NATO maneuvers in the Mediterranean. According to the US State Department, this has nothing to do with the escalating Ukraine conflict. Meanwhile, Germany said it would send medical supplies to Ukraine

Amid tensions with Russia over the Ukraine crisis, NATO plans to hold a major military exercise in the Mediterranean. The US aircraft carrier USS Harry Truman will take part in the naval maneuvers, which are scheduled to take place from Monday, as confirmed by US Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby.

The exercise, called Neptune Strike 22, is scheduled to last until February 4th. Kirby stressed that the maneuvers had nothing to do with current fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. “The exercise is not designed for the kind of scenarios that could play out with regard to Ukraine,” the Pentagon spokesman said.

The maneuver had also been planned for a long time. However, Neptune Strike 22 was not on a list of military exercises planned for 2022 published by NATO in December.

Maneuvers with 10,000 soldiers

Kirby said the maneuver had been put to the test given the current tensions with Russia. Ultimately, however, the NATO partners decided to stick to the maneuver. Russia announced large-scale naval maneuvers in the Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean and Arctic on Thursday.

A total of more than 140 ships and 10,000 soldiers are to take part in the planned exercises. The aircraft carrier USS Harry Truman and its escort ships have been in the Mediterranean since mid-December. The warship was supposed to be relocated, but Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin decided to leave it in the Mediterranean to “reassure” Europeans about the conflict with Russia.

Federal government wants to deliver field hospital

In view of the tensions with Moscow, the United States had also agreed to send weapons to Ukraine. Great Britain and Poland also promised to supply arms to Ukraine. Chancellor Olaf Scholz, on the other hand, reiterated his no to arms deliveries to the crisis region.

Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht sees it similarly. The federal government must do everything to de-escalate the crisis. “Weapons deliveries would not be helpful at the moment – that is the consensus in the federal government,” said the SPD politician to the “Welt am Sonntag”.

Germany blocks arms shipments from Estonia

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Germany is also currently blocking an Estonian military shipment to Ukraine. The NATO ally will not be granted permission to send artillery pieces made in Germany, the newspaper reported, citing Estonian and German authorities.

“Germany is very hesitant to supply us,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Resnikov told the newspaper. It also quoted a German government spokesman who referred to the export regulations. There is currently no permit and the outcome of the procedure cannot be estimated. An Estonian government adviser expressed the hope of obtaining a permit after all.

Germany blocks arms shipments from Estonia

Instead of weapons, Germany wants to deliver medical goods. In February, “a complete field hospital will be handed over, including the necessary training, all co-financed by Germany with 5.3 million euros,” said Lambrecht. Germany has also already delivered ventilators and is treating seriously injured Ukrainian soldiers in Bundeswehr hospitals.

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