Sunday 31 March 2024 - 22:49

Netherlands to Field Patriot Missiles Close to Russian Border

Story Code : 1126138
Netherlands to Field Patriot Missiles Close to Russian Border
The several-week-long drill is essential to strengthening air defenses on the eastern flank, the Dutch military said in a press release on Thursday, adding that the goal is to test the ability of NATO troops to quickly transport and deploy such units to a given area.

The decision to position a US-made system near the Russian border “contributes to the readiness of NATO air defense,” Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said, RT reported.

Vilnius welcomed the exercise as excellent news, noting the Dutch will be training in the no-notice redeployment of such units alongside the Lithuanian armed forces. The US-led military bloc’s Enhanced Forward Presence forces are “vital for the Baltic states’ security,” Defense Minister Laurynas Kasciunas said on Friday, calling for more deployments and exercises involving NATO aircraft and ground-based air defense systems in her country.

The Netherlands has been one of the few countries to supply two of their Patriot launchers to Ukraine, along with the US and Germany, which each sent a full battery.

The deployment will follow NATO’ ongoing military exercise Steadfast Defender 2024, one of the biggest in decades, which features some 90,000 troops, more than a thousand combat vehicles, over 50 naval vessels, 80 helicopters, drones and fighter jets from all 32 member states.

Russia has stated the US-led military bloc’s increased military spending and increasingly frequent military drills demonstrate its “increasingly aggressive nature.” The drills are practicing a “scenario of armed confrontation with Russia,” increasing tensions and destabilizing the world, Russian Security Council secretary Nikolay Patrushev said in early March.