MOSCOW, October 21./TASS/. Moscow expects that after a phone call on Friday between Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, explanations will be given as to NATO's nuclear deterrence exercises currently underway, Konstantin Gavrilov, head of the Russian delegation at the Vienna Negotiations on Military Security and Arms Control, said on the Rossiya-24 news channel.
"We hope that after a US-initiated conversation between Secretary Austin and our minister Shoigu, we will have some clarification. After all, contact is contact," the diplomat said, commenting on the military exercise.
According to Gavrilov, the Russian side "is closely watching these moves". "We hope that everything will turn out well," he stressed.
NATO’s Steadfast Noon nuclear deterrence exercise runs from October 17 to October 30 to check the alliance’s nuclear forces. This year, the exercise is headquartered at Belgium’s Kleine Brogel Air Base. According to a NATO press release, the maneuvers involve 14 countries and up to 60 aircraft of various types, and as in previous years, US B-52 long-range bombers will take part. They will simulate nuclear deterrence capabilities above North-Western Europe, namely in Belgium, Great Britain and the North Sea.