Around 3,000 personnel from 19 NATO Allies and partners are taking part in the annual BALTOPS naval exercise that kicked off in the Baltic Sea, say NATO.

The 49th BALTOPS exercise, which runs until 16 June, involves maritime and air forces with around 30 ships and submarines, and 30 aircraft. The training includes air defence, anti-submarine warfare, maritime interdiction and mine countermeasure operations.

To ensure the safety and health of participating military personnel, BALTOPS 2020 will take place exclusively at sea.

The Baltic Sea is of vital strategic importance for the Alliance and is bordered by six NATO countries, and two close partners”, said NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu. She added, ”While we continue to take all the necessary measures to protect our armed forces against the health crisis, our operational readiness remains undiminished”.

NATO AWACS surveillance aircraft will also participate and coordinate some of the air manoeuvres.

BALTOPS is the largest exercise series in the Baltic Sea. Participating troops come from Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the UK, and the United States.

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Andy

30 ships visible, this is great practice for the NATO 30-30-30 initiative, of which QE will be a core component.

Andy

I’d love to hear from some of our Russian friends how this BALTOPS is being perceived over there?

Ulya

It’s a training exercise, they are happening near us on a regular basis, it is as much or as little provocation as our training exercises are to you. Personally they don’t worry me, the west is not going to attack us any more than we will attack you, some media do like to get very over excited but it is the same your side all so.

Stevo H

I gather you’re from Russia…. it’s a refreshing change to hear an opinion from your side of the fence on these issues and especially someone who isn’t going into one about the training exercises.
I also like the fact that you can see the regular “encounters ” between our two forces are in no way going to erupt into a huge armed conflict.

Ulya

Hello Stevo, yes Russian, both sides test each other, have been doing it long before I was born so I see no reason to worry, and neither side can afford war, it will escalate out of control very quickly I think. It is a pity talking and mutual respect for each other’s interests is in such short supply, or even trying to understand each other’s point of view