The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has launched major war games taking place off the coasts of Latvia and Estonia. A Western official said the drills are intended to be a clear message to Russia.
The war games – dubbed Northern Coasts – began on Saturday and will run for two weeks. Germany is leading the drills and 13 other nations will participate, including the US and non-NATO member Sweden. Over 3,000 troops and 30 warships are involved in the exercises.
German Navy chief Vice Admiral Jan Christian Kaack told Reuters the war games are a show of force to Russia. “We are sending a clear message of vigilance to Russia: Not on our watch,” he said. “Credible deterrence must include the ability to attack.” Acting NATO Spokesperson Dylan White added, “Exercises like these send a clear message that NATO stands ready to defend every inch of Allied territory.”
According to a NATO press release, the war games are designed to simulate, “amphibious operations, air defense, strikes from sea to land, and securing sea lanes.” NATO has held the Northern Coasts drills annually since 2007.
Last summer, NATO held the BALTOPS 22 war games in the Baltic Sea. Seymour Hersh reported that the White House used those drills as cover to plant explosives on the Nord Stream pipelines.