U.S.-led naval exercise in the Baltic Sea, more than 7,000 sailors, airmen, and marines from 16 nations, including two aspiring NATO members, Finland and Sweden, began a nearly two-week. BALTOPS, an annual naval exercise that began in 1972, is not performed in response to any specific danger. However, NATO stated that “with both Sweden and Finland participating, NATO is embracing the opportunity in an unpredictable world to increase its combined force resilience and strength” in collaboration with two Nordic aspirant countries.
About U.S.-led naval exercise in the Baltic Sea:
- Both Finland and Sweden had a lengthy tradition of military non-alignment before their governments chose to apply to join NATO in May, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
- Moscow has frequently cautioned Helsinki and Stockholm not to join the Western military alliance, threatening harsh measures if they do so.
- The top US military officer stated in Sweden, the host of the BALTOPS 22 exercise, that it was especially vital for NATO to express support to the governments in Helsinki and Stockholm, ahead of the naval practice, which comprised 45 vessels and 75 aircraft.
- Turkey, a NATO member with strong relations with Russia, has expressed opposition to Finland and Sweden joining the military alliance, citing their suspected backing for a Kurdish militia that Turkey considers a terrorist organization.
- The NATO head has been attempting to mediate the conflict. Finland and Sweden, as close NATO allies, have participated in the naval exercise since the mid-1990s.
- BALTOPS 22 is expected to arrive at Kiel, Germany, on June 17th.