NATO Pushes Back on Exercising Report

A new analysis from a European think tank takes a deep look at both Russian and NATO military exercises in Europe since the 2014 Crimea Crisis — both a recent Russian “snap” exercise from March 2015 and the Allied Shield NATO exercise carried out in June 2015. The London-based European Leadership Network study, released Aug. 12, details the preparations and character of the exercises, declaring they play a role in “sustaining the current climate of tensions in Europe.” The ELN report encourages both Moscow and Brussels to improve their communication and utilize multilateral forums to increase “military predictability” and lower the risk of miscalculation. NATO, however, sharply respon?ded to the report, saying it “misleadingly puts NATO and Russian exercises on par.” NATO noted the Russian defense ministry has announced over 4,000 exercises for this year alone, over 10 times what NATO and its allies have planned in the same period, and is “deliberately avoiding military transparency” by using exceptions from Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitoring rules to justify snap events. These events are “dangerous” and part of a “more aggressive Russian military doctrine,” say Alliance officials. In response, NATO has increased its presence to its eastern borders in order to enhance collective defense, a “core task” of the Alliance.