Putin will take notice of huge show of strength as 250 war jets take to sky

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    In a clear warning to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, NATO has launched its biggest-ever international aerial war games exercise.

    Amy Gutmann, the US ambassador to Germany, said the exercise would show "beyond a shadow of a doubt the agility and the swiftness of our allied force" .

    And, making clear who the demonstration of aerial strength was aimed at, she added: "I would be pretty surprised if any world leader was not taking note of what this shows in terms of the spirit of this alliance, which means the strength of this alliance, and that includes Mr Putin”.

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    The joint exercise, named Air Defender 23, will see 10,000 participants and 250 aircraft from 25 NATO and partner air forces – including Japan and Sweden – respond to a simulated attack on NATO.

    A statement issued by the German armed forces before the beginning of today’s exercise read; “The goal is to exercise air operations with allied air forces.

    "The focus is on optimising and expanding cooperation among participating nations. The scenario is modelled on a NATO Article 5 assistance scenario.

    “The exercise was initiated by Germany in 2018, planned out in subsequent years and will take place in the summer under German leadership.”

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    “We are showing that NATO territory is our red line, that we are prepared to defend every centimetre of this territory,” said Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhartz of the German air force, which is coordinating the exercise.

    “But we won’t, for example, conduct any flights toward Kaliningrad. So this is intended to be defensive.”

    Civilian air traffic has been re-routed around three “combat zones”. One in North-West Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark, a second over East Germany, close to the Polish border, and a third covering South-West Germany and Luxembourg.

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    Deutsche Flugsicherung [DFS], the German air-traffic control provider, has warned that flight disruption will be "unavoidable" during the NATO exercise.

    Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh, director of the US Air National Guard, said the exercise goes beyond mere deterrence.

    “It’s about the readiness of our force. It’s about coordination, not just within NATO, but with our other allies and partners outside of NATO,” he said.

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    • Vladimir Putin
    • Military
    • Russia Ukraine war
    • Russia

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