US, Russia hold parallel military drills in the Balkans

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BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia and Russia have launched joint military exercises near Serbia’s capital as U.S.-led forces held massive drills in neighboring Balkan nations. The drills on Thursday appeared to show Moscow’s resolve to maintain influence in the European region torn by wars in the 1990s. The Serbian and Russian defense ministries said the joint training of some 200 special troops will include “the destruction of an illegal military formation,” live ammunition shooting and “anti-terrorist” action. The exercises at a training ground near Belgrade are set to last through May 25. Large-scale U.S. Army-led drills dubbed DEFENDER-Europe are being held across Europe, including in most of the nations that neighbor Serbia.

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