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23 Apr, 2024 09:38

Germany holds large-scale military drills near Russian border

The Grand Quadriga 2024 exercise in Lithuania is part of NATO’s Steadfast Defender 24 war games
Germany holds large-scale military drills near Russian border

More than 3,000 German military personnel are taking part in the Grand Quadriga 2024 drills that kicked off in Lithuania on Tuesday. The maneuvers are part of the larger, months-long Steadfast Defender 24 series of NATO exercises that began in late January.

Lithuania shares a border with Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave, as well as Moscow’s closest ally, Belarus. In a separate development earlier this month, Berlin deployed an advanced military team to the Baltic country as part of plans for a full-strength armor brigade permanently stationed there. Moscow has described the plans as a threat requiring “special measures” in response.

The Grand Quadriga 2024 exercise is scheduled to wrap up in late May, and will involve 200 pieces of German military hardware, including Leopard tanks as well as Puma and Boxer infantry fighting vehicles.

In a statement last Thursday, the Lithuanian military wrote that the “exercise is centered around moving two divisions from the Central European region to the Eastern.”

“Lithuanian units training side by side with the German participants will plan and execute operations,” the document read.

The Bundeswehr revealed that its armored division would be transported by boat, rail and road to Lithuania, where it would “practice defense and counter-offensive [exercises] on the allied territory.”

Several more military drills will also be taking place in Lithuania concurrently, including Saber Strike, Brave Griffin 2024/II and Thunder Strike – all of which are part of NATO’s Steadfast Defender 24.

Hailed as the largest exercises that NATO has held in decades, the maneuvers will feature some 90,000 troops from all 32 member states, according to Supreme Allied Commander for Europe Christopher Cavoli.

Some 1,100 combat vehicles, including 133 tanks and 533 infantry fighting vehicles, will be involved, as well as more than 50 naval vessels and 80 helicopters, drones and fighter jets.

In January, General Cavoli said the drills would simulate an “emerging conflict scenario against a near-peer adversary,” covering thousands of kilometers all across Europe.

Commenting on NATO’s war games in early March, the secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolay Patrushev, said they were “undoubtedly increasing tensions and destabilizing the situation in the world.” He claimed that a “scenario of an armed confrontation with Russia is being rehearsed.”

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