NATO Carries Out Large Military Exercises Near Russian Border
NORWAY - The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance has sent 35,000 troops, 50 ships, including a nuclear attack submarine and 200 aircraft to Norway, which borders Russia for military drills.
Thorough information regarding the plans for the drills, which should be noted were planned before the Russian invasion on Ukraine, were given to Moscow ahead of time in order to prevent 'unnecessary conflict'.
The 30,000 troops that were sent by NATO includes soldiers from 28 different NATO allied countries in Europe and North America. The exercises will last about a month and started in Northern Norway on Monday.
The drill, which is named "Cold Response" is being carried out around 130 miles from the Russian border. They will be raiding along the Norwegian coastline from an amphibious task group which is led by the amphibious transport dock of the Royal Navy, HMS Albion.
The aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales will be joined by the HMS Richmond frigate, a Type-45 destroyer the HMS Defender, a Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker as well as a nuclear powered attack submarine in escort.
Brigadier Rich Cantrill said, "The UK is making a strong contribution to one of the largest Cold Response exercises for years. NATO as an alliance needs to be ready for anything, ready for all environments. It's essential for us to support Norwegian partners and that's why we train in the Arctic so often".
"Cold Response is an amazing opportunity for key NATO allies and partners to come together in the most challenging environment of the High North, prepare for any eventuality and learn to work together".
"What we'll see is a strong maritime task force and then land exercises. We will see many nations come together from the UK to Norway, the USA, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Italy".
"The exercises will see allied forces, including from NATO partner nations Sweden and Finland, take control of the waters off Norway's coastline in a training scenario designed to enhance the alliance's ability to protect the host nation."
"Air operations will commence soon after that before the final phase will see amphibious landings and land operations."
NATO has put out a statement saying that the drill is "not linked to Russia's unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine" but that it was planned long before Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the attack on Ukraine.
The exercises, which include land, sea and air drills are set to finish in April and is Norway's largest military exercise since the Cold War ended.
Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations said, "I think this exercise is a good counterpart, a good companion to the ongoing reinforcement of the (alliance’s) eastern flank that has been taking place since Russia’s invasion began".
3,000 Marines from the II Marine Expeditionary Force will be taking part in the exercises, according to Defense Department spokesman John Kirby, which was stated at a briefing last week.
Parts of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, 2nd Marine Division, II MEF Information Group and 2nd Marine Logistics Group will also be carrying out field training exercises above, as well as below the Arctic Circle according to Stars and Stripes who spoke to the United States European Command.
Third Battalion, 6th Marines will be training with NATO allies on the Dutch transport ship HNMLS Rotterdam.