NATO Defender Europe 2021 exercises are being conducted to work out possible military confrontation with Russia, said the representative of Ukraine in the Trilateral Contact Group on Donbas, Alexey Arestovich, on the YouTube channel UKRLife.TV.
"A large-scale NATO exercise called Defender Europe 2021 has begun, which means "protect Europe." The scenario is that from the Baltic sea to the Black Sea, we are practicing for, well, let's put it directly, the war with Russia, the scenario of armed confrontation with Russia," Arestovich said.
"The active phase of these exercises is May-June, and now the preparation has begun: deployment of forces, logistics, transfer of equipment, which is also an element of the exercise," said Arestovich.
The North Atlantic Alliance announced plans to conduct the largest Defender Europe military exercise in a quarter of a century in April and May of this year. The exercise will integrate approximately 28,000 multinational forces from 26 nations to conduct nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas in 12 countries.
Earlier, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that by conducting these exercises, NATO is gathering a "strike fist" near Russia's borders, as well as strengthening its military presence in Eastern Europe.
In an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta in early February, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia's response to the Defender Europe 2021 exercises was inevitable.