NATO Holds Drills in Romania
US and French troops serving in a NATO battlegroup in Romania conducted a military exercise at the Black Sea training range in Capu Midia, to test the alliance’s eastern flank defenses.
Dubbed Eagle Royal 23, the drills involved some 350 multinational troops, who practiced firing live ammunition from a US-made HIMARS.
Romania’s defense ministry said that the goal of the drills — held between Feb. 2 to Feb. 10. — is to test NATO’s “interoperability of artillery systems” in a fictitious Article 5 collective defense scenario on the alliance’s southeastern territory.
NATO’s Article 5 is central to its founding treaty. The clause requires every alliance member to come to the assistance of any ally that requests it. Article 5 has been invoked only once: by the U.S. in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.
In response to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine last February, NATO bolstered its presence on Europe’s eastern flank, including by sending additional multinational battlegroups to alliance members Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Slovakia.
Late last month, around 600 French soldiers deployed to Romania also held live combat exercises to test NATO’s readiness in the region. That drill took place at a training range near Romania’s eastern town of Smardan and involved some 200 military vehicles, including four French Leclerc battle tanks.