NATO military exercises have kicked off in earnest in Norway. Although planned many years ahead, it comes amid a deterioration of relations between Europe and Russia.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told Euronews that Moscow was kept in the loop every step of the way.
"Russia will observe the exercise, because we have nothing to hide. We are open and transparent when it comes to our exercises. This exercise is not directed against any specific country, the purpose is to make sure that NATO continues to be able to deliver deterrents to prevent conflict," Stoltenberg explained.
Keeping the peace may be the objective, but operation Trident Juncture is based in the north of Europe, where Russian military has been particularly active in the past years. Euronews reporter Andrei Beketov asked about NATO's investment in fighting in Europe's north, with Russia close by.
"We have to be able to operate from the South to the North and from the East to West. We are there to protect all allies... We don't want a new arms race, we don't want a new Cold War. But we have to make sure that there is no possibility to believe NATO is not able to protect our allies and therefore we also need to have these kind of exercises."
The so-called war games will last two weeks in total. But beyond the military posturing, and rhetoric about avoiding escalation, there should be another strategy for dealing with Russia, which is already coming up with its own response to Trident Juncture as our correspondent explains.
"Russia expressed concern over these exercises," says Beketov, "but sent here two military observers. This week is also notified NATO that it's going to conduct its own missile launches in the same vicinity from naval boats."