U.S. Marines are participating in the Finland-led military exercise “Freezing Winds 23” in the Baltic Sea, which has drawn Russian concerns over NATO’s increasing presence in the region. This exercise, led by Finland, marks the first major maritime drill since Finland’s NATO membership. Former Russian deputy foreign minister Sergey Ordzhonikidze expressed concerns that the exercise could serve as practice for Finland taking control of Russian islands in the Baltic, potentially affecting Russia’s strategy in the event of conflict with NATO nations.
- “Freezing Winds 23” is a major maritime exercise led by Finland, featuring more than 4,000 allied personnel, including U.S. Marines, and drawing Russian concerns about NATO’s presence in the Baltic Sea.
- The exercise is defensive in nature and involves mine countermeasures, explosive ordnance disposal, and protection of underwater infrastructure, emphasizing NATO’s commitment to safeguarding critical assets in the Baltic Sea.
- Russian concerns arise from the potential impact of Finland’s NATO membership on the region, including the possibility of a naval blockade of Kaliningrad and control of strategically significant islands.