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NATO begins large-scale military drills in northern Europe

by Martin Fornusek March 4, 2024 9:55 AM 2 min read
Illustrative purposes only: A soldier with a NATO Steadfast Defender patch during the NATO Brilliant Jump 2024 exercise in Drawsko Pomorskie, Poland, on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. Liesa Johannssen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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The Nordic Response 24 NATO exercises begin in northern Finland, Sweden, and Norway on March 4, for the first time with the participation of Finland as a NATO member, the Finnish public broadcaster YLE reported.

The Norwegian-led drills, scheduled to last until March 15, are part of the largest NATO military exercises in decades, called Steadfast Defender 24.

Nordic Response will take place on land, at sea, and in the air, involving around 20,000 soldiers from 14 countries.

"The exercise will demonstrate NATO's operating capability, cohesion, and will to defend all of the Alliance's area," the Finnish military said in a statement.

"As Steadfast Defender 24 will be the most substantial training exercise of NATO in decades, its preparations and those of Nordic Response 24 have been underway now for a number of years already."

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said on Jan. 19 that Russia has launched an information campaign to cast NATO's Steadfast Defender as a provocation aimed against Moscow.

Steadfast Defender 2024 began on Jan. 22 with the participation of 90,000 troops from NATO countries and Sweden, becoming the alliance's biggest exercise since the Cold War.

Tensions between NATO and Russia have been mounting since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, with several Western officials warning of a possible large-scale conflict between the two powers in the coming years.

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