“BALTOPS is the premier annual maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic region and one of the largest exercises in northern Europe, enhancing flexibility and interoperability among allied and partner nations”, the Navy said in a press release.
The 9-21 June exercise with 18 NATO nations will include 50 surface ships, two submarines, 36 aircraft, and 8,600 personnel in a joint operational environment, the release said.
Nations participating in BALTOPS 2019 include Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States, according to the release.
NATO has been explaining its enhanced activities n Europe, specifically near Russia's borders, by the need to counteract a security threat allegedly posed by Russia. Russia has maintained that NATO's fears are unfounded.
Back in May, the alliance’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, said in an interview with Welt am Sonntag that NATO’s experts have adopted a new military strategy in relation to the Russian "threat".
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu accused NATO on Wednesday of boosting its military activity and threatening to use force, adding that the United States was strengthening its global military and economic pressure.
The Russian authorities have repeatedly expressed concerns over NATO's activities on the borders with Russia, stressing that they posed real threats to Russia's security and violated the NATO-Russia Founding Act, which banned the deployment of significant fighting forces on the territories of new member states.