Stockholm (The Times Groupe)- Some 40 warships from NATO member nations arrived in Stockholm on Saturday for NATO’s BALTOPS 22 exercise, which will begin tomorrow in the Baltic Sea.
Peter Hultqvist, the Swedish defense minister, told reporters that his country and Finland will also participate in the drill.
According to him, the crisis in the region can be characterized as a “new cold war” or as a “new iron curtain,” a conflict between authoritarian states and democratic Europe.
Hultqvist said the NATO countries are sending a signal about the security of the region through the ships gathered in Stockholm today.
“Fourteen NATO allies and two NATO partner nations, 45 ships, more than 75 aircraft, and about 7,000 personnel will participate in the 51st iteration of the premier maritime exercise from June 5-17,” NATO said earlier.
Among the participants will be Turkey, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, the UK, and the US.
Finland and Sweden will also participate in the drill as NATO partner nations. Both countries have recently applied to join the alliance.
The BALTOPS 22 exercise, which was initiated for the first time in 1972, will be held in Sweden this year.
Baltops is an annual NATO exercise that demonstrates the alliance’s commitment to regional peace and security through the use of a team of international forces that can respond quickly in a crisis, according to the alliance.