Some 40 warships of NATO member countries on Saturday arrived in the Swedish capital Stockholm for NATO’s BALTOPS 22 exercises that will start in the Baltic Sea tomorrow.
Speaking to reporters, Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said that his country and Finland will also join the drills.
Saying that what is happening in the region can be defined as a "new cold war" or a "new iron curtain," he noted that this is a conflict between authoritarian states and democratic Europe.
The NATO countries are sending a signal about the security of the region through the ships gathered in Stockholm today, Hultqvist added.
“Fourteen NATO allies, two NATO partner nations, over 45 ships, more than 75 aircraft, and approximately 7,000 personnel will participate in the 51st iteration of the premier maritime-focused exercise from June 5-17," NATO said in an earlier statement.
Among the participants will be Türkiye, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, the UK, and the US.
Meanwhile, as NATO partner nations, Finland and Sweden will also participate in the drill. Both the countries recently applied to join the military alliance.
This year, Sweden will host the BALTOPS 22 exercise, which was initiated for the first time in 1972.
BALTOPS is an annual exercise that visibly demonstrates NATO's commitment to preserving regional peace and security by exercising a team of international forces that can rapidly respond in a time of crisis, according to the alliance.