NATO’s Trident Juncture 18 exercise to be biggest since Cold War

Equipment belonging to the Italian armored brigade Ariete arrives in Norway in preparation for NATO’s Trident Juncture 2018 exercise. (Courtesy NATO)
Updated 02 October 2018

NATO’s Trident Juncture 18 exercise to be biggest since Cold War

  • The exercise would simulate the defense of a member state from a ‘fictional” adversary’
  • The Western allies have stepped up their military posture, with rotating garrisons in eastern Europe and the Baltic States

BRUSSELS: NATO’s Trident Juncture 18 exercise will draw in 45,000 troops, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday, unveiling what officials confirmed would be the alliance’s biggest maneuvers since the Cold War.
Stoltenberg said the exercise would simulate the defense of a member state from a “fictional” adversary, but the troops, tanks, ships and planes are headed for Norway, the North Atlantic and the Baltic — opposite Russia.
It will be the biggest such movement of NATO personnel and vehicles since at least the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, although still smaller than the Vostok-18 exercise staged by Russia and China last month.
“The exercise is defensive, and it is transparent,” the NATO leader told reporters on the first day of a two-day meeting of the 29-member alliance’s defense ministers at its new Brussels headquarters.
“All members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, including Russia, have been invited to send observers,” he said.
The operation will bring alliance troops — equipped with 150 aircraft, 70 vessels and around 10,000 land vehicles — from Britain, North America and continental Europe up through northern Europe and Scandinavia to NATO’s northeastern flank at the end of the month.
The Western allies have stepped up their military posture, with rotating garrisons in eastern Europe and the Baltic States, in the four years since Russia annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea.
Exercises like Trident Juncture are designed to practice moving a larger force forward quickly in the event of any outside intervention against a NATO member.


UK’s Johnson to visit European capitals seeking Brexit breakthrough

Updated 18 August 2019

UK’s Johnson to visit European capitals seeking Brexit breakthrough

  • Johnson will travel for talks with German Chancellor Merkel and French President Macron
  • Johnson is expected to push for the EU to reopen negotiations over the terms of Brexit

LONDON: UK's Boris Johnson will visit European capitals this week on his first overseas trip as prime minister, as his government said Sunday it had ordered the scrapping of the decades-old law enforcing its EU membership.

Johnson will travel to Berlin on Wednesday for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and on to Paris Thursday for discussions with French President Emmanuel Macron, Downing Street confirmed on Sunday, amid growing fears of a no-deal Brexit in two and a half months.

The meetings, ahead of a two-day G7 summit starting Saturday in the southern French resort of Biarritz, are his first diplomatic forays abroad since replacing predecessor Theresa May last month.

Johnson is expected to push for the EU to reopen negotiations over the terms of Brexit or warn that it faces the prospect of Britain's disorderly departure on October 31 -- the date it is due to leave.

European leaders have repeatedly rejected reopening an accord agreed by May last year but then rejected by British lawmakers on three occasions, despite Johnson's threats that the country will leave then without an agreement.

In an apparent show of intent, London announced Sunday that it had ordered the repeal of the European Communities Act, which took Britain into the forerunner to the EU 46 years ago and gives Brussels law supremacy.

The order, signed by Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay on Friday, is set to take effect on October 31.

"This is a landmark moment in taking back control of our laws from Brussels," Barclay said in a statement.

"This is a clear signal to the people of this country that there is no turning back -- we are leaving the EU as promised on October 31, whatever the circumstances -- delivering on the instructions given to us in 2016."

The moves come as Johnson faces increasing pressure to immediately recall MPs from their summer holidays so that parliament can debate Brexit.

More than 100 lawmakers, who are not due to return until September 3, have demanded in a letter that he reconvene the 650-seat House of Commons and let them sit permanently until October 31.

"Our country is on the brink of an economic crisis, as we career towards a no-deal Brexit," said the letter, signed by MPs and opposition party leaders who want to halt a no-deal departure.

"We face a national emergency, and parliament must be recalled now."

Parliament is set to break up again shortly after it returns, with the main parties holding their annual conferences during the September break.

Main opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wants to call a vote of no confidence in Johnson's government after parliament returns.

He hopes to take over as a temporary prime minister, seek an extension to Britain's EU departure date to stop a no-deal Brexit, and then call a general election.

"What we need is a government that is prepared to negotiate with the European Union so we don't have a crash-out on the 31st," Corbyn said Saturday.

"This government clearly doesn't want to do that."

Britain could face food, fuel and medicine shortages and chaos at its ports in a no-deal Brexit, The Sunday Times newspaper reported, citing a leaked government planning document.

There would likely be some form of hard border imposed on the island of Ireland, the document implied.

Rather than worst-case scenarios, the leaked document, compiled this month by the Cabinet Office ministry, spells out the likely ramifications of a no-deal Brexit, the broadsheet claimed.

The document said logjams could affect fuel distribution, while up to 85 percent of trucks using the main ports to continental Europe might not be ready for French customs.

The availability of fresh food would be diminished and prices would go up, the newspaper said.