Swedish and Finnish troops join US soldiers for huge NATO war games just days after Putin’s chilling threat to Scandinavia

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Sweden and Finland have joined 14 NATO countries for Baltic Sea war games amid heightened tensions in the region, as the two countries hope to join the Western alliance in response to Russia's on-going invasion of Ukraine. Pictured: wedish and Finnish soldiers perform naval simulation exercises during the Baltic Operations NATO military drills (Baltops 22) on June 11
  • About 7,000 military personnel and 45 ships from 16 countries are taking part in the BALTOPS 22 exercises
  • Sweden and Finland joined 14 NATO countries for the military exercises, on the Swedish island of Gotland
  • The 14 participating NATO nations include the United Kingdom, United States, France, Germany, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Turkey
  • The exercises – that run from June 5 to June 12 – came after Russian President Vladimir Putin paid tribute on Thursday to Tsar Peter the Great – drawing a parallel between what he portrayed as their twin historic quests
  • Exercises come after Sweden and Finland applied to join the NATO defence alliance, infuriating Russia

About 7,000 military personnel and 45 ships took part in the exercises that involved air drops and amphibious landings on Gotland – an island that is strategically located in the middle of the southern part of the Baltic Sea.

Gotland has seen foreign invasions throughout its history, the most recent one in 1808, when Russian forces briefly occupied it. The annual BALTOPS exercises saw troops practicing not just how to defend the island with a population of 58,000, but how to take it back from a foreign aggressor.

The 14 participating NATO nations include the United Kingdom, United States, FranceGermany, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Turkey.

The exercises – that run from June 5 to June 12 – came after Russian President Vladimir Putin paid tribute on Thursday to Tsar Peter the Great on the 350th anniversary of his birth, drawing a parallel between what he portrayed as their twin historic quests to win back Russian lands – in a chilling threat to Nordic nations.

‘Peter the Great waged the Great Northern War for 21 years,’ Putin said. ‘It would seem that he was at war with Sweden, he took something from them. He did not take anything from them, he returned (what was Russia’s).’

About 7,000 military personnel and 45 ships took part in the exercise that involved air drops and amphibious landings on Gotland - an island that is strategically located in the middle of the southern part of the Baltic Sea. Pictured: A soldier is seen firing a machine gun during the Baltic Operations NATO military drills on Saturday

About 7,000 military personnel and 45 ships took part in the exercise that involved air drops and amphibious landings on Gotland – an island that is strategically located in the middle of the southern part of the Baltic Sea. Pictured: A soldier is seen firing a machine gun during the Baltic Operations NATO military drills on Saturday

Gotland has seen foreign invasions throughout its history, the most recent one in 1808, when Russian forces briefly occupied it, and the annual BALTOPS exercises saw troops practicing not just how to defend the island with a population of 58,000, but how to take it back from a foreign aggressor. Pictured: Swedish and Finnish soldiers perform naval simulation exercises

Gotland has seen foreign invasions throughout its history, the most recent one in 1808, when Russian forces briefly occupied it, and the annual BALTOPS exercises saw troops practicing not just how to defend the island with a population of 58,000, but how to take it back from a foreign aggressor. Pictured: Swedish and Finnish soldiers perform naval simulation exercises

The 14 participating NATO nations include the United Kingdom, United States, France, Germany, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Turkey. Pictured: Soldiers are shown operating a motor on the island of Gotland during military exercises

The 14 participating NATO nations include the United Kingdom, United States, France, Germany, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Turkey. Pictured: Soldiers are shown operating a motor on the island of Gotland during military exercises

A Swedish navy military hovercraft travels during the Baltic Operations NATO military drills (Baltops 22) on June 11, 2022

A Swedish navy military hovercraft travels during the Baltic Operations NATO military drills (Baltops 22) on June 11, 2022

PicturedL A group of soldiers are pictured carrying out an exercise of the Swedish island of Gotland on Saturday

A group of soldiers are pictured carrying out an exercise of the Swedish island of Gotland on Saturday

In televised comments on day 106 of his war in Ukraine, he compared Peter’s campaign with the task facing Russia today. ‘Apparently, it also fell to us to return (what is Russia’s) and strengthen (the country),’ he continued.

‘And if we proceed from the fact that these basic values form the basis of our existence, we will certainly succeed in solving the tasks that we face.’

Though the annual BALTOPS exercise isn’t held in response to a specific threat, this year’s edition comes amid heightened tensions with Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

Despite their non-aligned status, the two Nordic have practiced regularly with NATO countries, and their governments decided in the wake of the Ukraine war to seek full membership in the Western military alliance.

Source: Daily Mail UK

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