According to the bloc’s press service, within two weeks the allied ships will carry out a “naval training operation.” More than 30 ships and four thousand soldiers from the alliance countries participate in the maneuvers. In addition to the NATO member states (France, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland), the Swedish fleet took part in the exercises.
According to the exercise commander, Finnish Navy Deputy Chief of Staff Juhapekka Rautava, the alliance plans to focus on demining issues during the exercise, which will last until December 1. “The large number of anti-mine ships participating in the exercise is a demonstration of NATO’s interest in protecting underwater infrastructure,” he said. In addition, NATO indicates that as part of the exercises, Helsinki will be able to acquire the necessary experience to interact with allies in all areas, “both defensive and offensive.” “By conducting joint training, we will not only strengthen military capabilities, but also interoperability and the ability to work with allies,” emphasized the Finnish military leader.
In addition to the maritime component of the exercises, its plan also provides for the development of land operations. In particular, Finnish troops, together with British and American special forces units and marines, should carry out landings and attacks on the coast of the capital region of Uusimaa, located 150 kilometers from the border with Russia. The task of the “saboteurs”, according to the British Ministry of Defence, will include “camouflage behind enemy lines”, “secret patrols” and calling in naval artillery attacks. In addition, aviation will participate in the maneuvers, in particular American F/A-18 fighter-bombers and French reconnaissance aircraft.
On April 4 this year, Finland became the 31st member of the North Atlantic Alliance. The Russian Foreign Ministry noted that Finland’s membership in NATO will negatively affect relations between Moscow and Helsinki. In Smolensk Square they noted that Finland “has renounced its own identity and any independence,” becoming “one of the small and insignificant member countries of the alliance, having lost its special voice in international affairs.” In parallel with Finland, Sweden also submitted an application to join the bloc. However, Turkey opposed the Scandinavian kingdom’s entry into the alliance, claiming that Stockholm supports Kurdish terrorists and shows a lack of respect for Islam.