This is NATO’s nuclear deterrence maneuvers with troops from 14 countries

This is NATO’s nuclear deterrence maneuvers with troops from 14 countries

They are part of the annual agenda, but they are marked by the Ukrainian conflict. They will last about two weeks.

Las annual maneuvers This year, after the Russian attack on Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s veiled threats to use nuclear force, the nuclear deterrence of the forces of NATO member states has a special significance.

The exercises, baptized as ‘Steadfast Noon’, are performed over the skies of Belgium, the south of the United Kingdom and the North Sea. 14 of the 30 NATO member countries and more than 60 aircraft participate, some with the capacity to launch nuclear weapons. Among the participating aircraft are B-52 strategic bombers US Air Force Stratofortress.

the maneuvers it will last almost two weeks, Until October 30th. They were planned since before the war because they are carried out without fanfare every year and NATO decided to keep them because, according to its secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, canceling them “would have sent the wrong signal”.

Italian soldiers in formation during NATO exercises. Photo: Nikolay Doychinov / AFP

The venue for the maneuvers is the Kleine-Brogel airbase, in northeast Belgium. It is one of the few European military bases where US nuclear weapons are stored. Also in a German base, another Dutch and another Italian.


The annual nuclear deterrence exercises are, if not secret, then yes very discreet. This year the Atlantic Alliance announced them for weeks because it ensures that wants to be transparent. Belgian Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder had already confirmed last week that an air base in her country was chosen for this year’s tests.

Dedonder wanted to reassure the population and NATO confirms that no real weapons are used in the exercise. Also participating in the maneuvers long range aircraft flying from a US base in North Dakota.

The official statement ensures that it is “a routine and recurring training activity” and that “it is not related to any current event” because it is carried out annually. But the publicity it has received this year it is difficult to disconnect it from the war in Ukraine and Putin’s threats.

NATO does not want these exercises to serve to justify movements of the Russian Air Force and ensures that the maneuvers will be more than 1,000 kilometers from the closest Russian territory, the enclave of Kaliningrad, between Poland and Lithuania.

A US Air Force B-52 bomber. Photo: EFE

A US Air Force B-52 bomber. Photo: EFE

Russia will also do exercises nuclear deterrent in the coming weeks.

The difficulties that Russian troops are encountering in Ukraine, where they have even had to retreat and abandon territories that Moscow considers theirs since the end of September after having illegally annexed it, increase Western fears that Putin will respond using the threatening to use nuclear weapons to twist the arm of Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky.

The Kremlin said Thursday that its exercises will include the use of shuttles terrestrial of nuclear missiles. His troops must train how to hide them from aerial reconnaissance systems such as spy planes or satellites.

The Russian Armed Forces often conduct nuclear deterrent exercises in october every year and they involve surface ships, submarines, combat aircraft and long-range bombers, in addition to intercontinental and medium-range missile launchers.

Last year he did not carry them out, officially to avoid concentrating thousands of men during one of the waves of the coronavirus pandemic. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said last week in Brussels during a ministerial summit at NATO headquarters that he does not see “any indicators at this time that would lead us to believe that Russia is changing its nuclear posture.”

Brussels, special


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