14:19 Jun. 7, 2016
NATO countries begin major military drills in Eastern Europe since Cold War
About 2,000 paratroopers from Poland, the U.S. and the U.K. began an airborne exercise near the Polish city of Torun on June 6, which marked the beginning of NATO's 10-day joint military drills Anaconda 2016.
The name fits perfectly: in recent days, tanks and military vehicles were moving in endless columns - like a giant snake - eastwards, to the site of the largest international manoeuvres.
Manoeuvres are to be taken on seven basic platforms - on land, at sea and in the air - under international staff command and will involve 31,000 soldiers, including about 12,000 troops from the host country Poland, and 14,000 soldiers from the U.S., and thousands of vehicles from 24 countries.
The participants come from 22 NATO member and non-member (partner) countries, including Ukraine and Georgia. Under Anaconda 2016 drills, the joint Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Brigade started a Crisis-Response Operations in the Polish Nowa Dęba training ground, scheduled to take place till June 17. The exercise opening ceremony was held by Brigadier General Adam Joks, the Multinational Brigade Commander and involved participants from Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Hungary and the U.S.
Earlier in June NATO military drills BALTOPS 2016 kicked off in southern part of the Baltic sea close to Sweden, Denmark, and Poland.