25,000 military personnel from 22 countries take part in Saber Guardian 17 exercise
A major NATO drill began in eastern Europe on Tuesday that would see the participation of 25,000 military personnel from 22 allied and partner countries.
“The Saber Guardian 17” exercise, considered as one of the largest in the Black Sea Region, started under the leadership of U.S. Army Europe at the Novo Selo military training facility in southern Bulgaria with an opening ceremony, according to a statement released on the army’s official website.
The multinational drill, which consists of air and ground-based forces -- aims to increase joint operational capability with allied and partner countries, it said.
"By conducting these exercises, we improve our freedom of movement across Europe, in particular the Black Sea region,” Maj. Gen. John Gronski, deputy commanding general for the Army National Guard, U.S. Army Europe, said during the ceremony.
"Bulgaria is a very important member of the NATO alliance, we train together as an alliance, and we deter together as an alliance,” he added.
This year’s drill will also take place in Hungary and Romania, and will last until July 20.