The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is conducting the largest air warfare drills in its history as a sign of solidarity with Ukraine, which is facing increasing military aggression from Russia.
The multinational exercises, dubbed “Air Defender 2023,” involve 250 fighter jets, 190 fighters and 10,000 troops from NATO allies and are designed to prepare the alliance to defend against aerial threats such as unmanned aerial vehicles, missiles and air strikes against cities and critical infrastructure.
This comes after Russia launched a series of intense airstrikes against Ukrainian cities in February 2022, resulting in 11 deaths and 28 injuries in the city of Kryvyi Rih and three others in the Black Sea port city of Odessa.
NATO members have supported Ukraine by supplying tanks, armored vehicles and other weapons used in Kiev’s current offensive in the face of continued threats of retaliation by Moscow. Some member countries are even considering delivering F-16 fighter jets in support of the Ukrainian military.
NATO, which was formed after World War II to defend Western nations from the Soviet Union, now hopes to quell Russian aggression against its eastern neighbor and its own members by demonstrating support and strength in the current air war games. The ultimate goal of these exercises is to ensure the capability and readiness of NATO and its member nations to counter any perceived threat.