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Finland, Norway, and Sweden Commence Large-Scale Military Exercises in Northern NATO

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Photo: Finland, Norway, and Sweden Commence Large-Scale Military Exercises in Northern NATO. Source: NATO
Photo: Finland, Norway, and Sweden Commence Large-Scale Military Exercises in Northern NATO. Source: NATO

On Monday, March 4th, NATO's major exercise, Nordic Response-2024, kicks off aimed at defending its recently expanded territory, with over 20,000 soldiers from 13 countries participating. These exercises will take place in the northern regions of Finland, Norway, and Sweden, with Finland participating for the first time as a NATO member, reports Yle.

The exercise will involve 4,000 Finnish troops, marking the country's largest participation in foreign exercises in NATO's history. Finnish military officials emphasized the significance of this event for integrating the country into NATO.

"For the first time, Finland is participating in exercises in a way that aligns us with NATO forces, meaning the majority of our troops will be under NATO command. There's a lot that's new. We're currently integrating our own defence into NATO. That's why these exercises are important," said Brigadier General Manu Tuominen, head of the Finnish training group.

Nordic Response-2024 represents NATO's largest exercise in the last decade. It will run until March 15th, with participation from Belgium, the United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United States. These exercises are part of the broader NATO exercise series "Steadfast Defender," which began in January and will continue until May, involving 90,000 soldiers from 31 countries.

For many years, NATO exercises, held twice a year in the Arctic regions of northern Norway, were known as Cold Response. This year, the exercises equally involve Finland, Norway, and Sweden.

"With the expansion of NATO through Finland and later Sweden, we are extending the exercises to Nordic Response," according to a statement from the Norwegian Armed Forces.

Approximately half of the participating troops will undergo land-based training. The rest will conduct exercises at sea, involving over 50 submarines, frigates, corvettes, aircraft carriers, and various amphibious vessels, as well as in the air, with over 100 fighter jets, transport planes, maritime patrol aircraft, and helicopters, Norwegian military sources report.

Norwegian military officials state that the joint exercises will focus on the defence and protection of the Scandinavian region.

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