NATO exercise in North Macedonia to preempt possible spillover of Ukraine crisis

REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

NATO forces will conduct exercises in North Macedonia to prepare for a possible spillover of the Ukraine crisis into the Balkans, the Balkan Security Network said on Tuesday.

It said that some 4,600 US and allied troops from North Macedonia, the UK, Italy, France, Montenegro, Albania and Greeceare taking part as of Thursday, May 12 at the Krivolak training grounds. It added that some 45 aircraft, including fighters and helicopters, will fly security for 1,800 paratroopers. Krivolak was chosen because it provides conditions similar to combat.

“This is clearly a test for NATO in case it needs to deploy and engage in the Balkans or eastern Europe,” the Balkan Security Network said.

The North Macedonia Defense Ministry said that exercise Swift Response 2022 is part of a series of military exercises named “DEFFENDER EUROPE 22”. It said that the exercise will be the biggest international war games in North Macedonia.