US Navy Flagship Heads Out for Largest Annual Int'l Drills in Baltic Sea

© AP Photo / JANEK SKARZYNSKIA file photo showing NATO troops make a massive amphibious landing off the coast of Ustka, northern Poland, during NATO military sea exercises BALTOPS (Baltic Operations) 2015 in the Baltic Sea
A file photo showing NATO troops make a massive amphibious landing off the coast of Ustka, northern Poland, during NATO military sea exercises BALTOPS (Baltic Operations) 2015 in the Baltic Sea - Sputnik International
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The command ship of the US Navy, Mount Whitney, is headed toward the Baltic Sea, the US Navy announced in a press release on Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Mount Whitney is going to lead the largest multinational military drill in the region called BALTOPS exercises.

“BALTOPS is an annually recurring multinational exercise designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, as well as demonstrate resolve of allied and partner forces to defend the Baltic region,” the release said.

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US Vice Admiral James Foggo told delegates from 16 participating nations at a BALTOPS planning conference earlier this year that the exercise is intended to reassure allies of the US commitment to security in the region.

Some 50 ships participated in BALTOPS drill in 2015, according to the US Navy.

The exercises come at a time of growing tensions between Russia and the US-led NATO alliance. In April, Moscow warned of increased strains after a US naval destroyer sailed close to the Russian border.

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