The North Atlantic Treaty Organization announced it will launch military drills with 7,000 troops in the Baltics. The provocative war games will include Sweden and Finland. Stockholm is hosting the exercises after applying for NATO membership last month.
The war games, dubbed Baltic Operations (BALTOPS 22), are based in Stockholm. BALTOPS 22 will primarily consist of naval operations and run from June 5-17. The drills will involve 45 ships and 75 aircraft. Sixteen nations will participate, including Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The annual war games are taking on increased significance as Helsinki and Stockholm recently submitted their applications to join NATO. The USS Kearsarge is in the Swedish capital city for the war games. According to Chairman of the Joint Chief, Gen. Mark Milley said, part of the ship’s mission is a show of force to Russia.