Germany is leading the largest air maneuver in the history of NATO

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Germany will lead more than 20 countries in NATO’s largest air exercise ever, as the alliance seeks to prove how quickly it can respond to any potential Russian aggression against its members.

The Air Defense maneuver will start next week for a period of 10 days, with the participation of 10,000 soldiers and 250 aircraft from 23 NATO countries.

The training will also witness the participation of Sweden, which has applied to join the Western military alliance, as well as Japan.

The operation will take place from three centers across Germany, putting the country in a central position as it seeks to assume a greater role in European security.

The maneuver will witness the participation of aircraft such as the F35, Eurofighter, Tornado and Western fighters, in addition to Reaper drones, helicopters, cargo planes and tankers.

The idea of ​​training appeared for the first time in 2018, long before Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his attack on Ukraine, but the idea came four years after Putin annexed Crimea and supported the separatists in eastern Ukraine.

German Air Force Commander Ingo Gerhartz told reporters on Wednesday that the operation targets no one and aims entirely to show our alliance is capable of defending itself.

However, Amy Gutman, the US ambassador to Berlin, said during the same event that she would be surprised if no world leader understood what this gambit reveals in terms of … the strength of this alliance, and that includes Mr. Putin”.

Neither the Kremlin nor the Russian Defense Ministry issued a public comment on the planned maneuver.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised a shift in his country’s defense approach after Russia’s attack on Ukraine, vowing to reform Germany’s poorly equipped armed forces and play a more assertive role in protecting Europe’s security.

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