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    From left, Norwegian support vessel Valkyrien, Belgian mine-hunter Belis, Norwegian minesweeper Otra, Dutch mine-hunter Makkum and Estonian mine-hunter Admiral Cowen form a convoy during a NATO deployment in the Baltic Sea along the German Coast, Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Large-Scale NATO Drills on Defusing Naval Mines Kick Off in Estonia

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    Atlantic Resolve: NATO at Russia's Gates (43)
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    The international naval force exercises of NATO member states Open Spirit 2015 will begin in the territorial waters of Estonia on Friday, General Staff of the Estonian Defense Forces said Thursday.

    TALLINN (Sputnik) – The exercises are aimed at ridding Baltic waters of masses of unexploded ordnance left over from World War I and World War II.

    Soldiers of the US Army 2nd Cavalry Regiment deployed in Estonia as a part of the US military's Operation Atlantic Resolve, arrive during the Dragoon Ride exercise in Liepupe March 22, 2015. Operation Atlantic Resolve is aimed at demonstrating commitment to NATO allies in light of Russia's aggression in Ukraine, according to the US Army.
    © REUTERS / Ints Kalnins
    Soldiers of the US Army 2nd Cavalry Regiment deployed in Estonia as a part of the US military's Operation Atlantic Resolve, arrive during the "Dragoon Ride" exercise in Liepupe March 22, 2015. Operation Atlantic Resolve is aimed at demonstrating commitment to NATO allies in light of Russia's aggression in Ukraine, according to the US Army.

    "The drills, which will be attended by 19 ships from 15 countries, as well as seven teams of divers, will be held from May 15 to May 29. Ships and military personnel from the United States, Belgium, Estonia, the Netherlands, Canada, Lithuania, Latvia, Norway, Poland, France, Sweden, Germany, Finland, Denmark and the United Kingdom arrived to participate in the Open Spirit 2015," Estonia's General Staff said in statement.

    The search of mines will be carried out in the Tallinn Bay, Irbe Strait and off the coast of Saaremaa and Muhu islands.

    The Open Spirit naval exercises are held annually since 1997 under the NATO Partnership for Peace program.

    About 150,000 mines were planted in the Baltic Sea, including nearly 80,000 — in the Gulf of Finland — during the World War I and the World War II. Since 1994, at least 700 mines and other explosive devices have been detected in the Estonian territorial waters.

    Topic:
    Atlantic Resolve: NATO at Russia's Gates (43)

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    NATO, military drills, Open Spirit 2015, Estonia
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