Russian and the West – level 3
A show of force from the Russian Defence Ministry… This large-scale military drill involved 8,500 troops, about 900 military vehicles, 50 warships and up to 200 warplanes on the annexed Crimean Peninsula and in the southern Krasnodar region.
Russia’s carried out several unannounced military drills since relations with the West deteriorated over the Ukraine crisis with Moscow criticising what it says is a build-up of NATO forces near Russia’s borders. Back in January, Russia said it would form four new military divisions this year to strengthen its western and central regions.
Just a day before this drill on the 11th of February, NATO agreed, its boldest steps yet to deter Russia from any attacks in the Baltics or eEeastern Europe, setting out ways to rapidly deploy air, naval and ground forces without resorting to Cold War-era military bases.
Last year, Russia started targeting Syria with airstrikes that it says are aimed at Islamic State which Turkey, Arab states and the West say are mostly aimed at other opponents of Assad’s.
Russia’s intervention in Syria’s made an already complicated situation more complex, testing the NATO alliance’s ability to deter a newly assertive Moscow without seeking direct confrontation.
Difficult words: drill (training), troops (soldiers), annexed (connected), unannounced (not announced – officially told), deteriorate (to get worse), bold (risky), division (a large military formation with 10 to 20 thousand soldiers), deter (to scare off), set out (to plan), deploy (to move into position), resort to (to do something), alliance (a group of countries working together), assertive (strong and active).
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