Upcoming naval drills in the Baltic Sea will involve approximately 30 ships and over 3,000 Western servicemen, focusing for the first time on countering a potential Russian assault in the region. Vice-Admiral Jan Christian Kaack emphasized the drills’ importance as a message of vigilance to Russia. The exercises, named the “Northern Coasts,” will feature troops from all NATO Baltic Sea nations, soon-to-be member Sweden, and non-Baltic allies such as the U.S., Canada, and several European countries.
- The two-week “Northern Coasts” exercise starts on Sep 9, uniting NATO countries and allies like the U.S., Canada, and certain European nations to practice amphibious operations and strikes.
- The U.S. navy is contributing the Mesa Verde, a ship capable of transporting and landing 800 marines, to the drills.
- The exercises will emphasize the importance of securing maritime supply routes in the Baltic Sea, which are critical for Finland and the Baltic states.
- The Suwalki Gap, a 65-kilometer land corridor, is the only land link between the Baltic states, Poland, and the main NATO territory in Europe.
- Germany’s navy, the largest in the Baltic Sea, will command the drills from their new maritime headquarters in Rostock, aiming to offer it to NATO as a regional maritime HQ for future operations.