03:57 GMT12 July 2020
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    MURMANSK (Sputnik) - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday that the alliance's upcoming Trident Juncture 2018 drills were meant to demonstrate that no country could doubt the bloc's readiness to defend its member states.

    "All states have the right to conduct drills, and we do it in a very open and predictable manner," Stoltenberg told the Norwegian news agency NTB, answering a question on whether Russia should consider the exercise a provocation.

    According to the official, the drills ensure security of the member states.

    "The aim of NATO is to avoid wars and conflicts, and we do it in a way so that nobody could ever doubt our readiness to defend each member of the alliance," Stoltenberg added. According to the official, Russia had no reasons to believe that NATO drills were provocative.

    Earlier in the day Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said that Russia would take into account the increasing number of NATO exercises in Europe and other steps toward the alliance’s military build-up, which would be reflected in Russia's military planning.

    READ MORE: NATO Sees Russia’s Vostok 2018 Drills as Preparation For Conflict — Spokesman

    Trident Juncture 2018 drills will be held in Norway between October 25 and November 7, with some 40,000 troops from 31 countries participating in the event. Back in May, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti said that the drills were supposed to become a "demonstration of our capability" and a "deterrent message" to Russia.


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