Show of force for Russia: large-scale NATO exercises kick off in the Baltic Sea
On Saturday, September 9, NATO's North Shore large-scale exercises started near the coasts of Latvia and Estonia in the Baltic Sea. They involve 13 countries of the North Atlantic Alliance and Sweden, 3,000 people, up to 30 ships and 15 aircraft. They are practicing the withdrawal of allied troops in the Baltic Sea and landing in the event of war.
Experts believe that these exercises will be "a timely show of force for Russia," which is constantly escalating relations with Western countries. This is reported by the ERR Estonian edition.
"The large-scale North Shore exercises to protect the Baltic Sea began on Saturday. According to security expert Kalev Stoicescu, this is a timely show of force for Russia," the publication writes.
"We have an opportunity to protect the Baltic Sea. We see what Russia is doing in the Black Sea with the ports of Odesa and all grain exports as if the Black Sea belongs to it entirely. However, we will not allow Russia to dominate here as well," Stoicescu said.
Fourteen nations are taking part in the German-organized exercise. There are countries from the Baltic Sea area, including Sweden, as well as the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. Air, sea and land forces are involved with about 3,000 people in total, as well as up to 30 ships and 15 aircraft. The 200-meter Mesa Verde US landing craft, which can take on board about 800 marines, is taking part in the exercise.
The exercise, which will last two weeks, will focus on repelling a potential Russian attack and counterattacks. In particular, attention will be paid to amphibious operations and land strikes from the sea. In addition, the exercise will focus on defending the sea routes across the Baltic Sea, which are critical for Estonia and Finland.
The defense of the Baltic Sea waters is being practiced for real for the first time. This was said by the Lieutenant Commander of the Navy's Mine Warfare command Ott Laanemets, who previously participated in the exercise.
"First of all, you need to break through the Baltic Sea. First you need to win an air battle, then a surface battle and then a mine battle. Finally, you need to get something on the ground," Laanemets described the intent of the exercise.
He noted the participation of Finland and Sweden in North Shore.
"The Finnish and Swedish navies are specialists in coastal combat precisely in the geographical conditions of these two countries in the Archipelago Sea. There are not so many such competencies in NATO," Laanemets said.
Earlier it became known that the United States, Romania and Ukraine will hold military exercises in the Black Sea and the Danube Delta. Ukrainian servicemen will take part in Sea Breeze 23.3, which will be held from September 11 to 15.
Military personnel from Bulgaria, France, Great Britain and Turkey will also be involved in the exercise.
The main goal of Sea Breeze 23.3 is to develop operational and tactical compatibility between the participating countries in the field of countering explosive objects, sea mines in particular, to ensure freedom of navigation.