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NATO Conducts Nordic Response 2024 Exercise In Arctic Conditions

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, left, speaks during a press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Swedish Government headquarters Rosenbad in Stockholm, Oct. 24

NATO has initiated a significant exercise aimed at defending its newly expanded Nordic territory. More than 20,000 soldiers from 13 nations are participating in drills lasting nearly two weeks in the northern regions of Finland, Norway, and Sweden. This exercise, known as the Nordic Response 2024, marks Finland's largest ever participation in a foreign drill, with over 4,000 Finnish soldiers involved.

For the first time as a NATO member nation, Finland is actively engaging in exercises focused on the collective defense of the alliance's regions. The Swedish Armed Forces are also participating, with approximately 4,500 personnel from the air force, army, and navy taking part in the challenging Arctic winter conditions.

Finland, which shares a border of 1,340 kilometers with Russia, joined NATO in April 2023, following decades of military non-alignment. Sweden is in the final stages of formalities to become the 32nd member of the military alliance, likely to join in March.

The NATO drill, previously known as 'Cold Response,' has been expanded to 'Nordic Response' with the inclusion of Finland and soon Sweden. This exercise is part of Steadfast Defender 24, NATO's largest in decades, involving up to 90,000 troops over several months to demonstrate the alliance's ability to defend its territory up to the Russian border.

Finland's largest foreign drill participation with 4,000 soldiers.
NATO exercise in Nordic region with 20,000 troops from 13 nations.
Sweden's Armed Forces engage in Arctic winter conditions.
Finland joined NATO in 2023, Sweden to join soon.

Participating nations include Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United States. The drill focuses on land, sea, and air operations, with over 50 submarines, frigates, aircraft carriers, and fighter jets involved.

The exercise aims to enhance Nordic preparedness and capability to conduct large-scale joint operations in challenging weather conditions. The current security situation in Europe underscores the relevance and importance of such drills, according to military officials.

Finland's new president, Alexander Stubb, and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre are set to inspect the drill in northern Norway on March 7. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden will visit an airbase in northern Sweden on March 11, as part of the ongoing exercise.

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