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NATO launches Arctic exercises, pledges protection of Finland

NATO launches Arctic exercises

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries have kicked off military exercises with a pledge to defend their newest member, Finland, which is hosting its first joint training in the Arctic region since becoming part of the Western alliance in April. Nearly 1,000 allied forces from Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States – as well as NATO applicant Sweden – joined approximately 6,500 Finnish troops and some 1,000 vehicles for exercises this week, which mark Finland’s biggest modern-time land-force drill above the Arctic Circle.

Overseeing NATO exercises just a two-hour drive from the Russian border at one of Europe’s largest artillery training grounds in Rovajarvi, northern Finland, US Army Major-General Gregory Anderson from the 10th Mountain Division said his country stood ready to defend Finland.Some 150 aircraft from 14 NATO members and partner countries are also participating in Arctic Challenge 2023 exercises, according to NATO Air Command.

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The addition of Finland to the NATO bloc has more than doubled the length of the border the military alliance shares with Russia amid increasing tension between Moscow and the West following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Sweden is Finland’s closest military partner and it was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that convinced Sweden and Finland last year to ditch long-held policies of military non-alignment and seek the security of NATO’s collective defence commitment.

Finland formally joined NATO on April 4, drawing a threat from Moscow of “counter-measures”. Sweden hopes to be a NATO member by the time of the alliance’s summit in Vilnius, Lithuania in July.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • NATO Founded: 4 April 1949, Washington, D.C., United States;
  • NATO Headquarters: Brussels, Belgium.

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