31.05.2021 – 20:58
The military exercise “Defender Europe 21” that is taking place in Albania has aroused the interest of the Greek media who have dedicated several articles, the latest by “Kathimerini” entitled “Military fever in the Balkans, Patriot missiles in Albania.
“The United States is turning Albania into a high-level military center, installing modern Patriot missile systems and attack helicopters on its territory as part of a defensive shield trying to lift the bow from the Adriatic and North Aegean.
In NATO military planning, the port of Durres now plays a key role, in addition to the ports of Alexandroupolis, Kavala and (partly) Thessaloniki. A first test was used to land troops and equipment as part of the giant Defender Europe 21 exercise, which began in early March on the southeastern wing of the Atlantic Alliance.
Seven thousand US Marines have landed in Durrës in recent weeks, of which more than a thousand have continued to the north of Macedonia, while the rest will be trained until June 2, at the country’s military bases with Albanian army units in “Albania’s largest foreign military presence after the Second World War” writes “Kathimerini”.
“We have not chosen to conduct such military exercises here as Albania provides an important base that allows NATO to respond to emergencies quickly and efficiently,” US Ambassador to Tirana Yuri Kim was quoted as saying. “Erol Manir announced the permanent installation of the missile system in Albania and the supply of the Albanian army with Black Hawk attack helicopters” the article continues.
Albania derives its special importance from the American movement from its geographical position. “Although Albania, a NATO member, maintains a small professional army and is not directly threatened, its geographical location, especially the port of Durres, makes it a valuable Balkan bridge on Alliance military maps.
It is becoming clear that together with the Greek ports on the shores of the North Aegean, Durrës is emerging as the second most important naval channel for the movement of troops and equipment from the Mediterranean to and from the interior of the Balkans, Southeast Europe and the Black Sea. . And at the same time, as Alexandroupolis in the east.
Now that the challenges in Eastern Europe are growing, with tectonic plates of Western, Russian, Chinese, Turkish influence crashing underground from the Balkans to the Baltic and the risk of burning in the Aegean, Europeans and Americans are erecting (and) military walls in the triangle of Adriatic Sea, Aegean, Black Sea. Greece participates actively, with personnel and infrastructure, focusing on the port of Alexandroupolis, from where military equipment, helicopters, tanks are transported to and from Romania, while the entire operation is assisted by the city “Democritus” airport.
What about China, Russia and Turkey? “It would be very absurd that all this military activity on the southeast side of NATO would not have irritated not only Russia but also Turkey. “The Turks seem to be mainly concerned about the US military presence in Alexandroupolis and in Thrace in general, as they think it intends to monitor and control in a possible crisis.” Since April, thousands of American soldiers and heavy weapons have been deployed in 7 bases in Albania.