NATO, allies launch Baltic Sea drill to send message to Russia
Fourteen Western countries will take part in Northern Coasts 23, a major naval exercise in the Baltic Sea, hoping to send a message to Russia.
Fourteen Western countries are taking part in a major naval exercise in the Baltic Sea hoping to deliver a message to Russia, NATO spokesperson Dylan White said on Saturday.
The naval drill, dubbed Northern Coasts 23, will involve 3,200 soldiers, 30 vessels, a number of submarines, 19 aircraft, and amphibious units, the German Navy said in a statement.
"Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine has radically altered the security situation in the Baltic Sea. Exercises like these send a clear message that NATO stands ready to defend every inch of allied territory," White claimed.
The German-led exercise will also include Poland, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Belgium, the United States, and Canada.
Rear Admiral Stephan Haisch who is the director of the drill said this is the first time that Germany has been charged with the "planning and conducting a manoeuvre of such magnitude," marking Berlin's leading role in the proactive drills.
The German Navy says this is the first time that "a realistic scenario is being practiced within the framework of alliance defense," as Latvia and Estonia host the drill.
The first Nothern Coasts exercise took place in 2007 and was launched by the German Navy, which alternates responsibility for the management of the exercise with Denmark, Sweden, and Finland.
NATO pressures Russia in the Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is enclosed by several NATO members and Russia, making it a strategic economic and military waterway that NATO seeks to secure in case the War in Ukraine expands to other countries amid heightened tensions in the region. NATO-allied countries in this region have been staunch supporters of Kiev, as Denmark and the Netherlands contributed to a 100-large Leopard I aid package.
The US, through its NATO missions in the Baltic Sea, violated Russian airspace twice in late May.
Russian fighter jets intercepted two US strategic bomber planes over the Baltic Sea and forced them to change direction after the aircraft violated the country's state border, Russia's Defense Ministry said on May 25.
Su-27 and Su-35 jets were dispatched to steer away the American bombers, the Ministry continued, adding that the targets were identified as "two US Air Force B-1B strategic bombers."
The Defense Ministry stressed that its turning back of the bombers was "carried out in strict accordance with international rules for the use of airspace."
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