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Departure of UK’s HMS Prince of Wales to participate in NATO drills postponed

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London: The departure of UK aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales to participate in major NATO exercises was postponed at the last minute for unknown reasons, The Telegraph newspaper reported on Sunday.

Earlier in February, the UK Royal Navy said the UK aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, commissioned in 2017, would not take part in NATO’s Steadfast Defender exercise due to a technical issue. The navy added that HMS Prince of Wales would set sail for the exercises instead of HMS Queen Elizabeth “as soon as possible.”

The aircraft carrier was supposed to depart from Portsmouth on Sunday to lead an eight-ship carrier strike group, the newspaper reported.

On January 18, NATO announced that it would kick off Steadfast Defender 2024 later in the month. The exercise, which is taking place in the Atlantic and Europe, involves around 90,000 troops from 31 allies and Sweden. The drills will last several months.

During the exercise, the allies are planning to test out a conflict scenario against a “near-peer adversary” in accordance with Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which states that an attack on one ally is considered an attack against the entire NATO and allows for the provision of appropriate assistance.

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