23:29 GMT03 April 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US forces in Europe and fellow service members from at least nine NATO countries will head to the Arctic reaches of northern Norway in March to practice tactical operations in cold-weather environments, the US Defence Department announced in a press release on Monday.

    "Between 15,000 and 16,000 service members from the US, Norway, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden are expected to participate in Cold Response 2020", Norwegian Rear Admiral Sverre Engeness said in the release. This is "an exercise designed for and focused on the tactical units", Engeness added. "They are the primary training audience".

    The 2-28 March exercise will predominantly involve land and amphibious forces, but sea and air forces also will participate, the release added.

    "Exercises such as Cold Response 2020 exhibit the… dedication of the US and allied and partner nations have for maintaining the secure and stable Arctic", the commander of US Marine Corps forces in Europe and Africa, Major General Patrick J. Hermesmann, said.

    All branches of the US military are slated to participate in the exercise, which will take place in northern Norway on the edge of the Arctic Circle, according to the release.

    According to the press release, the Cold Response 2020 exercise takes place in northern Norway from Narvik to Finnmark, but the main part of the drill will be focused in Troms County.

    In January, press spokesman at the Armed Forces operational headquarters Ivar Moen described Norway as “a leader in winter services within NATO”, stressing that it was important to share and hone skills with allied nations.

    United States, NATO, Norway
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