Europeans and Americans know almost in real time about every movement of foreign armies, yet they appear to be little informed about what kind of manoeuvres and exercises their own armies engage in. Over the past few weeks the Western reader has been warned every single day against an imminent Russia attack in Ukraine, a warning grounded on an unusual concentration of Russian troops “on the border with Ukraine”.
The US and Europe have repeatedly expressed concerns over the Russia activities, warning of harsh consequences if Russia was to make a move into Ukraine. Most Russian troops appear to be concentrated around the town of Yelnya. Yelnya is about 200 km from the Ukrainian border, much closer to Belarus than to Ukraine, somewhere between Moscow and Kiev.
How many in the West, however, have heard of Global Thunder, a series of military exercises the US just conducted with the UK and Australia? A simple Google search does not produce any mention of this military exercise in major Western media. Russian military exercises, which generally happen within the borders of Russia, generally produce a much more significant coverage. It is unlikely that the average European or American would have heard about this.
According to the STRATCOM website “Global Thunder 21 will focus on realistic training activities against simulated targets to ensure and improve nuclear readiness and strategic deterrent capabilities. This exercise provides training opportunities in all USSTRATCOM mission areas, with a specific focus on nuclear readiness. This exercise employs global operations in coordination with other combatant commands, services, appropriate U.S. government agencies, and allies to deter, detect and , if necessary, defeat strategic attacks against the United States and its allies”.
During the exercise, strategic bombers of the US Air Force significantly increased activity near the Russian borders and practice a nuclear strike against the Russian Federation. This is what the Russian Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu told in a talk his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe.
The Pentagon claims that the nuclear strike was practiced in accordance with international law.
“Over the past month, there were about 30 flights to the borders of the Russian Federation, which is 2.5 times more than in the corresponding period last year,” Shoigu said during talks with his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe.
“The minimum distance of aircraft from the state border was 20 kilometers,” Shoigu added.
The Pentagon claims that the military exercises with the participation of US fighters and NATO allies were announced in advance and carried out “in compliance with international law”.