Just days after President Trump announced US withdrawal from the INF Treaty, NATO has launched its biggest military exercises since the Cold War, lasting until November 7th.
Taking place in Norway, these exercises will simulate the collective response of NATO to an imagined attack on an allied partner, as outlined in Article 5 of the NATO treaty. The UK has committed more than 250 vehicles and 500 soldiers to this exercise.
CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said:
‘While the foe in this imagined scenario is claimed to be fictitious, the decision to launch these drills in Norway, a country which shares an Arctic border with Russia, sends a provocative message of NATO’s intended dominance in the region to Russia.
‘Trident Juncture is increasing the already heightened tension between Russia and NATO. Russia has taken a reciprocal decision to launch two of its own warships on course through the North Atlantic, just slightly ahead of NATO’s sea vessels during their Trident Juncture drills. They will perform their own military exercises aboard to ‘show [the] presence’ of Russia in the Atlantic Ocean.
‘Military exercises such as Trident Juncture 18 are making geopolitical relations worse, fuelling mounting tension between NATO and Russia. After President Trump’s reckless decision to withdraw from the INF treaty, Trident Juncture 18 only hammers home the dangers of nuclear weapons: with relations deteriorating among nuclear states, our collective global security also diminishes.
‘The UK government must desist from engagement in provocative military exercises and urge President Trump to go back into the INF Treaty. Any concerns about Treaty compliance from either side must be dealt with through diplomatic negotiations. Trashing nuclear treaties puts us all at risk.’