07 June 2022

NATO holds Baltic Sea Naval Exercises with Finland, Sweden.

NATO kicked off nearly a two-week U.S.-led naval exercise on the Baltic Sea on Sunday with more than 7,000 sailors, airmen and marines from 16 nations, including two aspiring to join the military alliance, Finland and Sweden.

The annual BALTOPS naval exercise, initiated in 1972, is not held in response to any specific threat. But the military alliance said that “with both Sweden and Finland participating, NATO is seizing the chance in an unpredictable world to enhance its joint force resilience and strength” together with two Nordic aspirant nations.

Finland and Sweden both have a long history of military non-alignment before their governments decided to apply to join NATO in May, a direct result of Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. Over the past years, Moscow has repeatedly warned Helsinki and Stockholm against joining the Western military alliance and warned of retaliatory measures if they did.

Ahead of the naval drill, which involved 45 vessels and 75 aircraft, the top U.S military official said in Sweden — the host of the BALTOPS 22 exercise — that it was particularly important for NATO to show support to the governments in Helsinki and Stockholm.

Source: www.voanews.com

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