NATO has launched a scheduled military exercise in Norway this week, including an army of 30,000, 220 aircraft and 50 warships. In a statement From the military alliance on Tuesday.
No mention is made of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, but the training “involves tens of thousands of troops from across Europe and North America. [who] According to the alliance, we are training together in harsh climatic conditions as part of the Norwegian movement Cold Response 2022.
Non-NATO members said Sweden and Finland, which share a large border with Russia, participated in the training.
“Approximately 30,000 troops from 27 countries, including NATO’s close partners Finland and Sweden, are participating in this exercise, including approximately 220 aircraft and more than 50 vessels,” NATO said. Is writing.
Cold Response 2022 was planned long before Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24 and aims to show how Norway manages reinforcements. Navy, aerial, and ground training is held every two years in large areas throughout Norway, including above the Arctic Circle.
“This is a defensive exercise,” said General Yngve Odlo, head of Cold Response, on Monday. “This is not a military operation with an offensive purpose,” he added, according to Norwegian broadcaster TV2.
NATO said it had offered an invitation to Russia to monitor the training, but Moscow refused to attend.
“The increase in NATO’s military power near the Russian border does not help strengthen the security of the region,” the Russian embassy in Norway told AFP last week about the exercise.
But Russia “has the ability to follow (exercises) in a completely legal way,” Odro told TV2. “I really want them to respect the existing agreement,” he added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin cited the recent eastern expansion of NATO as the reason for deciding to invade Ukraine last month, saying the development is a threat to Russia’s sovereignty.
After the conflict between Ukraine and Russia began, polls show that an increasing number of Finnish and Swedish citizens, who are members of the European Union and are considered NATO partners, are considering joining NATO. It has been. However, in early March, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson issued a statement that no short-term bids were planned to join NATO, explaining it as a move to raise tensions in Europe.
Last weekend, Sergei Bilaiev, the second European director of Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told news agency Interfax that Sweden and Finland could face consequences by joining the alliance.
He said the non-participation of both countries in NATO is “an important factor in ensuring the security and stability of Scandinavia.”