MOSCOW, July 25 (RIA Novosti) – The scenario for a forthcoming NATO exercise in the ex-Soviet Baltic republics and Poland, in which those nations face invasion by a foreign power, is reminiscent of the Cold War period, Russia's Deputy Defense Minister said Thursday.
The exercise, dubbed Steadfast Jazz 2013, will be held in November in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. According to NATO, the primary purpose of the exercise is to test the command and control elements of NATO’s Response Force.
“As we prepared for this meeting, we carefully studied information received from NATO countries about Steadfast Jazz-2013,” Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council in Brussels, according to the ministry's website.
“I can’t hide the fact that the Russian Defense Ministry was bewildered by the proclaimed goal of this exercise, which envisages the application of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty triggering a response to an aggression against Poland. These drills are in the spirit of the Cold War,” Antonov said.
The Zapad 2013 joint military exercises between Russia and Belarus in the fall this year will only simulate combat against terrorist groups and illegal armed formations penetrating Belarusian territory, he added.
Russia has held the largest exercises for its armed forces this year since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Defense Ministry said last week after a huge deployment and readiness test in the country's far east involving armor, aircraft and ships.