Thousands of troops from NATO and its European partners are preparing for a series of military exercises dubbed one of the ‘largest shared deployments since the Cold War’ by the United Kingdom.
The drills will take place in Finland, Poland, North Macedonia, and along the Estonian-Latvian border, and will be supported by planes, tanks, artillery, and armoured vehicles. NATO and the Joint Expeditionary Force, which comprises non-NATO countries Finland and Sweden, will be there.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said, ‘The security of Europe has never been more important. These exercises will see our troops join forces with allies and partners across NATO and the Joint Expeditionary Force in a show of solidarity and strength in one of the largest shared deployments since the Cold War’.
British Commander Field Army Lieutenant General Ralph Wooddisse further added that ‘the scale of the deployment, coupled with the professionalism, training and agility of the British Army, will deter aggression at a scale not seen in Europe this century’.
The deployments will begin in Finland this week when troops from the US, UK, Estonia, and Latvia will take part in Exercise Arrow to strengthen their capacity to operate alongside Finnish forces.
In North Macedonia, 4,500 troops will participate in Exercise Swift Response this week, which will feature parachute drops and helicopter-borne assaults. The mission will involve forces from the US, Britain, Albania, France, and Italy.
Exercise Hedgehog, which will take place near the Estonia-Latvia border next month, will bring together 18,000 NATO soldiers. Around 1,000 British soldiers will take part in Exercise Defender in Poland in late May, with forces from 11 other countries. In total, the UK stated that it will send ’72 Challenger 2 tanks, 12 AS90 tracked artillery pieces, and 120 Warrior armoured combat vehicles’ to the exercises.