Approximately 18,000 servicemen from 19 countries will take part in the US-led NATO Saber Strike military exercises, which began on Sunday, June 3, with a solemn ceremony in Vilnius.
The exercises have been held annually since 2010. NATO battalions under the leadership of the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada currently deployed in the Baltic States and Poland will take part.
“NATO [troops]…[are] being specifically tested during Saber Strike, and [these joint exercises] demonstrate the alliance’s commitment to one another,” US Army Brigadier General Richard R. Coffman said in Vilnius.
The exercises also intend to focus on enhancing interoperability and coordination between ground and air forces to demonstrate "the right presence where we need it and when we need it," continued the General.
The U.S. Army Command stressed that these exercises “are not a provocation to Russia.”
Israel, who is not a member of NATO, will take part in the Saber Strike exercises for the first time.