NATO Starts Major Drill Near Russia’s Border – 20K Troops, Hundreds of Ships and Aircraft Congregate on Northern Regions of Finland, Norway and Sweden

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For years it has been a complete taboo to seriously address the NATO eastward expansion and how this breached agreements with Russia in the post-Soviet era.

But now the genie has left the bottle for all to see.

With the ascension of Finland and Sweden to the North Atlantic Alliance, this expansion has reached peak momentum, and in this context, the Nordic response military exercise right at the bear’s borders is not a very welcome development.

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NATO’s drill will kick off today (04) to defend the ‘newly expanded Nordic territory,’ with more than 20,000 soldiers from 13 nations taking part in it.

The exercise will last roughly two weeks, and take place in the northern regions of Finland, Norway and Sweden.

4,000 Finnish soldiers will be taking part, in the new NATO member’s largest ever participation in a foreign exercise.

Associated Press reported:

“’For the first time, Finland will participate as a NATO member nation in exercising collective defense of the alliance’s regions’, the Finnish Defense Forces said in a statement.

Finland, which shares a 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) border with Russia, joined NATO in April 2023 in a historic move following decades of military non-alignment. With its bid now ratified by all NATO members, neighboring Sweden is currently finalizing formalities to enter the military alliance as its 32nd member — most likely in March.

Both Sweden and Finland had developed strong ties with NATO after the end of the Cold War, but public opinion remained firmly against full membership until Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

NATO’s eastward expansion is no joke.

For decades, Finland and Sweden found neutrality to be the best and safest stance to take, but with the onset of the Ukrainian war, both countries jointly applied for NATO membership.

The biannual NATO drill in the Arctic extremes of northern Norway used to be called “Cold Response.”

“However, ‘thanks to the NATO expansion with Finland and eventually Sweden, we are now expanding the exercise to a Nordic Response’, the Norwegian Armed Forces said on its website. This year, the drill is hosted equally by Finland, Norway and Sweden. The participating nations in the exercise that runs through March 15 are Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United States.”

Half the troops will train on land, the rest will train at sea or in the air.

Over 50 submarines, frigates, corvettes, aircraft carriers, and various amphibious vessels will participate, as well as more than 100 fighter jets, transport aircraft, maritime surveillance aircraft, and helicopters.

“’We need to be able to fight back and stop anyone who tries to challenge our borders, values and democracy’, said Brigadier Tron Strand from the Royal Norwegian Air Force, Commander of the Norwegian Air Operations Center, in a statement. ‘With the current security situation in Europe, the exercise is extremely relevant and more important than ever before’, he added.”

Finland’s new president, Alexander Stubb, will inspect the drill together with Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre. It will be the first foreign trip for Stubb since he was sworn in as Finland’s supreme military commander on March 1.

Read more:

Putin Sends NATO Members a Warning

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