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Memorial Day US and NATO “Allied Sky” military drill sends a warning to Russia

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress taking off at Edwards Air Force Base California

31st May 2021 Memorial Day is a holiday for most, honouring the men and women who died while serving in combat. A day when many Americans pay their respects, visiting cemeteries and memorials or attending military parades.

Monday’s operation “Allied Sky” honoured the fallen troops in a different way, with an alliance of over 100 combat aircraft and bombers from 22 NATO member states united and flying above all 30 countries of the North Atlantic Alliance (“NAA”) to send a warning message to Russia and other potential adversaries.

The NAA implements the North Atlantic Treaty of 4th April 1949 constituting a system of collective defence cooperation whereby the 30 member states agreed to mutual defence in response to attack by any external party.

Allied Sky comes in two parts, a show of strength comprising of the ‘European Leg’ and ‘North American Leg’.  Under the European Leg, B-52H Stratofortress bombers deployed to Spain’s Morón Air Base, also completed aerial refuelling drills and formations with allied fighter jets.

The North American leg saw fighters and B52 bombers from North America and Canada team up for a similar show of force, also flying over both nations.

General Jeff Harrigian, commander of NATO Allied Air Command, US Air Forces in Europe said;

“Bomber missions demonstrate the credibility of our forces to address a global security environment that is more diverse and uncertain than at any other time in our history.  Today’s mission is an awesome demonstration of NATO air superiority and together there is no challenge we cannot tackle”.

Over the past several years, there has been numerous encounters with Russian jets, many were deemed to be aggressive or unsafe by US and coalition forces.

With the US and NATO deploying their military might across Europe, last week, in what could be construed as retaliatory action, Russia sent three of its TU-22 bombers to their air base in Latakia, Syria reminiscent of when Russia stepped in to support President Assad during the civil war, greatly increasing tensions with the US / NATO.

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