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Nato naval exercises in South Uist are ‘taking the place of diplomacy’

THE peace in Scotland’s Western Isles is being shattered by Nato’s naval exercises, which are “taking the place of diplomacy,” the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) said today.

Warships from 10 countries are gathering off the island of South Uist for what has been described as “the world’s largest test of naval air and missile defences.”

Ships from 10 nations will track and engage subsonic, supersonic and ballistic missile targets on and above the Western Isles, according to Nato.

In exercises that began on Saturday, they use a rocket range on South Uist and a tracing station based on the island of St Kilda, the most westerly of the Outer Hebrides.

But CND chairman Dave Webb condemned the manoeuvres, codenamed Formidable Shield.

“Military exercises like these are the way in which Nato demonstrates its military capabilities as a warning to others,” he said.

“These days provocative manoeuvres are taking the place of diplomacy. Missile defence systems sound like a good idea but they can also be seen as preventing any retaliation after a first strike.

“The UK should not be taking part in these activities — they are not defensive. Instead, they increase the likelihood of military conflict and threaten the safety and security of UK citizens.”

Nato said that the exercise would include ships detecting and tracking a missile flying at more than 20,000 kilometres an hour.

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