While the war in Ukraine rages, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and its allies will launch exercises in Norway on Monday aimed at rescuing one of its own.
Approximately 30,000 troops, 200 aircraft, and 50 vessels from 27 countries will participate in the Cold Response 2022 exercise in Norway on March 14, the largest exercise involving NATO troops this year.
The exercises will allow Western countries to hone their combat skills in Norway’s cold climate, including in the Arctic, on the ground, at sea, and in the skies.
Moreover, The drill will take place just a few hundred kilometers from Russia’s border, and while it was planned long before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, it has taken on new significance as a result of the conflict.
Odd Roger Enoksen, Norway’s Defense Minister, told the sources, “This manoeuvre is vitally crucial for the security of Norway and its allies. We will practice an allied reinforcement of Norway.”
“It is not being held because of Russia’s invasion over Ukraine, but given the backdrop, there is a heightened significance”, he stated.
Furthermore, Norway, which guards NATO’s northern border in Europe, is keen to see how it would handle Allied reinforcements on its soil, as required by Article 5 of NATO’s charter, which requires member states to assist another member state under attack.
Neighbouring countries such as Sweden and Finland, which are officially military non-aligned but increasingly close partners of NATO, will also participate in Cold Response, which will conclude on April 1.
Experts were astonished by Russia’s offensive against Ukraine, prompting some to fear if Russian President Putin would try to go after other former Soviet states, such as the Baltics, in his quest to restore the old USSR.
French General Yvan Gouriou of France’s rapid reaction corps said, “Cold Response “allows us to hone our training, demonstrate our solidarity, and our desire to work together under difficult conditions that may be more familiar in the east.”
He further added, “So the manoeuvre is very relevant in the existing situation.”