Ships taking part in Northern Coasts 2016, an annual multi-national exercise since 2007 (SHAPE-twitter) PO ESP-N Sánchez Oller)

Warships gather in Baltic

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There’s a lot of activity in the Baltic Sea this week. Yesterday saw the start of Northern Coasts (NOCO 2019).  Over 40 surface ships, submarines, related aircraft, and some 3,000 troops are involved from 18 nations including Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Great Britain, Italy, Canada, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.

The exercise which began on Monday in Copenhagen  and hosted this year by Denmark, takes place over the next 3 weeks (Sept 19) in the straits connecting the Baltic to the North Sea, as well as  between Kiel and Bornholm.

The exercise presumes a fictional regional country has claimed islands in the Baltic as it’s territory and using its naval forces to threaten freedom of navigation. Backed by a U.N. mandate, the Allied force will seek to restore freedom of navigation.

The exercise involves mine clearance, naval combat, maritime surveillance, air defence, and anti-submarine warfare.

Northern Coasts 2018- YouTube (Finnish Defence Forces)

As an interesting prelude, in August, a large Russian naval exercise was held in the Norwegian Sea involving some 30  surface ships, submarines and supply ships. Norway’s Defence Chief was quoted in the Barents Observer saying the objective was to show Russia could block NATO access to the Baltic Sea, North Sea and Norwegian Sea.

The Russian destroyer “Severomorsk” in the Norwegian Sea..a show of force prior to the Northern Coast exercise. (Forsvaret.no-Norwegian Armed Forces)

Haakon Bruun-Hansen said it was, “an exercise where Russia seeks to protect its territory and its interests by deploying highly capable ships, submarines and aircraft with the purpose of preventing NATO of operating in the area”.

The exercise Northern Coasts has been an annual event since 2007

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One comment on “Warships gather in Baltic
  1. Avatar Rodrigo Vega-Gamarra y Cuervo says:

    It would be a mistake of Russia to want to show that it can prevent NATO from opperating in the North Atlantic Ocean (Seas of Barents, Baltic, North and Norwegian), becouse those seas are also part of countries that belong to NATO. It is obvious that, consequently,these countries also have jurisdition over these seas.

    However, it is true is that neither NATO nor Russia should consider each other as potential enemies. NATO should not have Russia among its hipothetical military objectives, nor should Russia have NATO or any of the countries that comprise it, amongs its virtual military objectives.

    The avobe is understandable becouse, contrary to what is thought, Russia is not the main enemy of our Western World. On the contrary, Russia is also part of our Christian western Civilization. And in these historical moments what is in danger is, precisely, our Western Civilization.

    Now well, Russia is a military, economic and political power and, as such, influences the world. President Trump in other words said it wisely at the last G7 meeting: Russia must be taken into account in our geopolitical decisions and must be considered among us as an ally.

    Objectively, our Christian Western has a latent threat of the Islamic world and Chinese expantion. Bringing Russia back to our great Western alliance, it will be to strenght this alliance too much. If Russia became part of our Western alliance there would be no strenght to stop the rise of the Christian West as a civilizing unit, nor force that dared to attack it.

    For the good, unity, peace and security of our Christian Western World, I have always maintained that the ideal is that Russia also be part of the NATO.