U.S. Strategic Command will be conducting a massive “deter and detect” nuclear drill from May 12 to May 16, just four days after a similar Russian exercise.
The U.S. drill, known as Exercise Global Lightning 14, is set to include ten B-52s and six B-2 bombers in an attempt to demonstrate U.S. military flexibility and responsiveness.
The drill, which is meant to simulate a scenario in which the U.S. would have to protect itself and its allies in the event of a “strategic attack,” is being touted as a chance to incorporate modern technology into U.S. drills.
Exercise Global Lighting 14 follows just days after Russia conducted its own nuclear weapons response drills, on May 8. The drills, which Russian president Vladimir Putin supervised, simulated retaliatory measures Russia would take if it were attacked by a nuclear weapon.
The Russian drill included the launch of an intercontinental Topol ballistic missile, and the test launch of two long-range ballistic missiles from submarines in its Pacific and Northern fleets.
U.S. Strategic Command has stressed that Exercise Global Lightning 14 has been planned for over a year and that it is in no way connected to real-world events.
However, tensions between Russia and NATO countries have been steadily rising as the situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate. General Philip Breedlove, head of U.S. European Command, said NATO could consider permanently basing military personnel in Eastern Europe.
Russia responded with a warning that they could place nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave that borders Poland, if NATO forces were to be massed close to the Russian border.
“Russia is a nuclear power,” Lt. Gen. Yevgeny Buzhinsky, who formerly headed the department of international agreements in the Russian Defence Ministry, told RIA Novosti. “If NATO becomes more active, we will deploy a division of Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad Region.”
NATO has so far increased its air support to the Baltic States, but has stopped short of creating permanent military bases in the region.
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