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    Newly Enlarged NATO Starts Drill in Finland, Norway and Sweden in Defense of Its Nordic Turf

    Newly Enlarged NATO Starts Drill in Finland, Norway and Sweden in Defense of Its Nordic Turf

    HELSINKI — NATO kicked off an exercise on Monday to defend its newly expanded Nordic territory when more than 20,000 soldiers from 13 nations take part in drills lasting nearly two weeks in the northern regions of Finland, Norway and .

    With over 4,000 Finnish soldiers taking part, the Norway-led Nordic Response 2024 represents the NATO newcomer's largest ever participation in a foreign exercise, according to Finland's military.

    “For the first time, Finland will participate as a NATO member nation in exercising collective defense of the alliance's regions,” the Finnish Defense Forces said in a statement.

    The Swedish Armed Forces said about 4,500 personnel from its air , army and navy would take part in the drill, which is being conducted in demanding Arctic winter conditions.

    Finland, which shares a 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) border with , joined NATO in April 2023 in a historic move following decades of military non-alignment. With its bid now ratified by all NATO members, neighboring Sweden is currently finalizing formalities to enter the military alliance as its 32nd member — most likely in March.

    Both Sweden and Finland had developed strong ties with NATO after the end of the Cold War, but public opinion remained firmly against full membership until Russia's invasion of .

    Nonalignment was seen as the best way to avoid tensions with Russia, their powerful neighbor in the Baltic Sea region. But the…

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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