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NATO chief says 'hope Russia will avoid dangerous behaviour'

No new nuclear arms in Europe despite Russian treaty breach, NATO chief says Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team Oslo, Norway Oct 25, 2018, 01.21 PM (IST)

As Norway prepares to host the biggest military exercise in the post-cold war era on Thursday, Russia has warned that it is an "anti-Russian" exercise.

The Russian embassy in Oslo said: "Such activity comes across as provocative, even if you try to justify it as being of a purely defensive nature." 

However, as Trump pulled out of the 1987 Nuclear Forces treaty(NFT) with US accusing the Putin regime of violating the treaty by deploying new cruise missiles, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hinted at "standing with allies" to counter any Russian threat.

The military exercise will involve 65 ships, 250 aircraft, 10,000 vehicles and 50,000 military personnel across 31 NATO countries including partner countries. “This is a strong display of our capabilities and of our resolve to work together,” secretary general Stoltenberg said while unveiling the plan.

Forces from US and Canada will also be involved in the exercise with aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman set to take part.

"Trident Juncture sends a clear message to our nations and to any potential adversary. NATO does not seek confrontation but we stand ready to defend all Allies against any threat," Stoltenberg declared.

Stoltenburg had earlier said: "I don't foresee that allies will deploy more nuclear weapons in Europe as a response to the new Russian (ground-launched SSC-8 cruise) missile, but I see - and that's what now is going on in NATO  - is a need to assess the implications of the new Russian missile for our security."

"Russia now is in violation of the INF," he added.

The exercise is due to take place from October 25th to November 7th in central and eastern Norway including Iceland and in Finland and Sweden airspace.

Two Russian and two Belarus military observers have been invited to watch the manoeuvres. Stoltenberg said he hoped Russia would "avoid dangerous behaviour".

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Forces from US and Canada will also be involved in the exercise with  aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman set to take part.