The Zionist entity is to take part for the first time is a major NATO military exercise in the alliance’s eastern flank involving Poland and the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Several dozen combat Israeli soldiers will take part in the major US-led military exercise with 18,000 soldiers from 19 primarily NATO countries, Israeli daily Haaretz reported, adding that the drill has kicked off.
The US Army Europe said Sunday the Saber Strike 18 drill is spread around the region until June 15 as “a demonstration of the commitment and solidarity of the Alliance” at a time when Russia’s military maneuvers are increasingly worrying nearby NATO members.
It stressed, however, that Saber Strike “is not a provocation of Russia.”
NATO has deployed some 6,000 troops in the Baltics and Poland.
Lithuania’s defense ministry also announced the start of the country’s largest-ever national drill, “Thunder Storm,” with some 9,000 troops.
Non-NATO member ‘Israel’ has been a partner of NATO since 1994. From 2010 to 2016, its attempts to open an official mission at the organization’s headquarters in Brussels were stymied by Turkey. In September of 2016 NATO recognized an official Israeli ambassador to the alliance and granted Israel a permanent office.
On Saturday NATO’s secretary-general said the alliance wouldn’t come to Israel’s defense in case of attack by Iran.
Jens Stoltenberg told the magazine Der Spiegel that Tel Aviv is a partner, but not a member and that NATO’s “security guarantee” doesn’t apply to the Zionist entity.
Stoltenberg said NATO isn’t involved in Mideast peace efforts or in conflicts in the region.
Source: Israeli media