Defense Ministry: Moldova Does Not Participate in NATO Steadfast Defender Exercise

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The Defense Ministry denied reports about the participation of servicemen from the Moldovan National Army in the Steadfast Defender exercise. The ministry’s press service rebutted this information. “Due to the Steadfast Defender and Swift Response military exercises recently reported by some media outlets, the Defense Ministry says that our country does not participate in the NATO Steadfast Defender exercise,” Defense Ministry spokeswoman Alla Diaconu claimed. According to NATO, the largest military exercise in Europe - Steadfast Defender - will start at the end of January and will involve 90,000 troops, dozens of planes and helicopters and more than a thousand combat vehicles. The first phase will focus on transatlantic troop movements, testing the U.S. ability to quickly move troops into Europe. The second phase will begin in mid-February and will test whether NATO can defend its eastern flank. According to media reports, the last time NATO held such a large-scale exercise in 1988. 125,000 troops took part in it at the time. Now the exercise will be held in Germany, Poland and the Baltic States. It is assumed that the military will work on a defense scenario in the event of a Russian invasion. In addition to NATO members, Sweden, which has applied to join the alliance, will take part in the exercise. Earlier, a number of media outlets reported that the Moldovan military will take part in the second phase of the exercise, which will also take place on the territory of Moldova. A defense ministry spokeswoman denied these allegations. At the same time, she confirmed that Moldovan soldiers will take part in the Swift Response international exercise of the US Army’s Europe and Africa Command, but “this exercise has nothing to do with Steadfast Defender”. The Swift Response exercise is scheduled for 5-24 May. It will take place in Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Northern Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Moldova and Sweden.