Russia says NATO’s Steadfast Defender drills could lead to “tragic consequences for Europe”

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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Steadfast Defender drills are provocative, and could potentially lead to tragic consequences for Europe, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Friday.

“For several months, 90,000 forces from 31 NATO member countries, as well as Sweden, will be actively operating near Russian borders on the territory from Norway to Romania,” Zakharova said.

Such a step was “provocative,” and “deliberately aimed at escalating the situation,” she said, warning that it could increase the risk of military incidents and “ultimately lead to tragic consequences for Europe.”

NATO kicked off the “Steadfast Defender 2024” exercises, its largest military drills in decades, on Wednesday. The exercises will take place in several locations and run until May 31.

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