US holds joint war games in Romania amidst missile shield rift with Russia
Just days after switching on an $800-million missile shield in Romania, the US looks like further incurring the wrath of Russia by holding military drills to “promote regional stability” in the Eastern European nation along with five other nations. Around 350 troops from six countries took part in the military exercises at the Smardan shooting range near Galati in the east of the country near the border with Romania. The exercises conclude on May 16.
he drill, entitled ‘Platinum Eagle 16.1’, saw soldiers from Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, the UK and US take part. They were using light attack aircraft and SOCAT helicopters amongst other things, while one of the commanders said the exercise was being carried out to bring “stability” to the region.
“The 1st Battalion Marines is spread out over Eastern Europe, and the fact that we are to come here, in Romania, and train with five other nations, that really promotes regional stability. Training together in peace time, those who train together will fight well together,” Lieutenant-Colonel Justin Ansel of the US Marine Corps told RT’s Ruptly video agency.
In late April, two American F-22 Raptor 5G stealth fighter jets were deployed to an airfield in Romania, as NATO showed support to its Eastern European allies in the face of what it perceives to be “Russian aggression.”
However, the Mihail Kogalniceanu military base lies less than 400 kilometers from the Russian military stronghold of Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula.
In 2014, US President Barack Obama promised to bolster the military capabilities of NATO’s eastern members. The bloc has been conducting a large number of military training exercises near Russia’s western borders over the last two years, though without permanently stationing large forces on the territory of the alliance’s new member states.
These military exercises could not come at a more sensitive time for relations between Russia and the US.
On May 12, Washington switched on an $800-million missile shield in Romania, which it says is vital in order to defend itself and Europe from a potential missile attack from a so-called rouge nation. Moscow is unhappy and says the missile shield is aimed at diminishing the threat of its own nuclear deterrent.
RT REPORT HERE