NATO, Russia Hold Identical Arctic Training Programs

Vladimir Putin
The Associated Press

NATO and European countries started a two-week Arctic training exercise program as tensions with Russians continue to grow. Russian President Vladimir Putin retaliated with an order for a mass surprise drill.

“The aim is to exercise and train units in the orchestration and conduct of complex air operations, in close relations to NATO partners,” explained Norwegian brigadier general Jan Ove Rygg.

From May 25 to June 5, Norway is hosting the exercise with NATO members and non-NATO members Sweden, Finland, and Switzerland. In 2014, Russia threatened Sweden and Finland to persuade them from joining NATO.

The organization planned the exercise last year before Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, which led to Cold War-level tensions between Russia and the West. This just means the exercises are more important.

NATO intercepted Russian jets in 2014 more times than any other year. Portugal even chased a Russian ship out of their waters on November 6. Russia claims the ship conducted “marine research,” but Portugal intervened when the ship floated almost fourteen miles off the coast.

On the same day, Putin ordered 12,000 soldiers and 250 aircraft to perform military exercises in the Ural mountains and Siberia. The Russian military ministry insists their drills are part of a “massive surprise inspection.” The inspection includes over “700 weapons and pieces of military hardware.”