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RUSSIA SLAMS LONG-PLANNED NATO MILITARY EXERCISES UNDERWAY IN NORWAY

Military exercises involving 30,000 NATO troops and those from partner countries including Sweden and Finland have begun in Norway. Russia has criticized the maneuvers, announced by NATO last July. 


Cold Response 2022 – which continues until April 1 – aims to test how Norway would manage Allied reinforcements on its soil, in line with Article 5 of NATO’s charter which requires member states to come to the aid of another member under attack.



DCO Global News
Published on March 15, 2022
By Odoh Dominic Chukwuemeka


“It’s a defensive exercise, not a military operation with an offensive purpose,” General Yngve Odlo, in charge of Cold Response, told Norwegian television channel TV2.

A statement on NATO’s website said: “This year’s exercise was announced over eight months ago. It is not linked to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine, which NATO is responding to with preventive, proportionate and non-escalatory measures.”


RUSSIA DECLINES INVITATION


Organized every two years, the naval, air and ground drills are held over vast swathes of Norway’s territory, including above the Arctic Circle. They will take place several hundred kilometers away from Norway’s border with Russia.

NATO said Russia was informed about Cold Response 2022 in a video call in January. Russia declined Norway’s invitation to send observers.

A Russian embassy spokesperson in Norway told AFP that “any build-up of NATO military capabilities near Russia’s borders does not help to strengthen security in the region.”

Sweden and Finland, both militarily non-aligned but increasingly close partners of NATO, will participate in the cold weather exercises. Russia’s invasion has renewed debate in the two Nordic countries about possible NATO membership.

In addition to troops from 27 countries, around 200 aircraft and 50 vessels will take part in the maneuvers, which began with naval operations and the deployment on land of part of NATO’s rapid reaction force.

According to NATO, “regular exercises allow NATO and partners to train together, identifying what works and what needs improving. Exercises are defensive, proportionate and announced months in advance.


NATO allies respect the transparency obligations under the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Vienna Document, which governs the rules for military exercises in the Euro-Atlantic area.”

Sources


By Odoh Dominic Chukwuemeka

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Armored vehicles from NATO’s rapid reaction force arrive for military exercises in Norway, on March 10. /NTB/AFP/Geir Olsen

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