The Russia military detected the activities of the US B-52H bombers and surveillance planes over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea and scrambled fighter jets to track them down, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday.
US and Polish forces kicked off large-scale ground-based drills dubbed ‘Allied Spirit’ in northwestern Poland on June 4, while a NATO maritime exercise called ‘BALTOPS 20’ in the Baltic region got underway on June 7, 2020.
Iskander missile units from the Russian Baltic Fleet’s coastal defense forces have carried out mock conventional missile strike drills.
The Baltic Fleet’s combat training activities were held against the background of the NATO BALTOPS 20 naval exercises taking place in the Baltic Sea.
The drills were said to have involved the covert deployment of the missile launchers to their designated areas. After performing the launches, the units quickly changed their position to avoid a simulated retaliation.
The Iskander missile system is a road-mobile short-range ballistic missile carrier with a range of 50-500 km, and can be armed with a variety of conventional and nuclear charges, as well as an EMP charge.
The maritime-focused NATO exercises are thought to involve some 28 warships, over two dozen aircraft and 3,000 personnel from 17 NATO countries, as well as Finland and Sweden.
The drills are being commanded from NATO’s ‘Naval Striking and Support Forces’ headquarters in Portugal.
The resumed NATO drilling near Russia’s borders comes following the scaling down of plans to deploy some 37,000 troops, including some 20,000 US troops airlifted from the United States, for exercises in Germany, Poland and the Baltic countries earlier this year.
Those drills, dubbed the Defender Europe 20, were put on hold in March amid fears that they would cause a spike in Corona-virus infections among military personnel.
On Friday, the US Army said it still plans to engage up to 1,000 US troops in a second phase of the Defender Europe 20 drills in Germany later this summer, along with several other exercises on the continent.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point Military News 2020.