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NATO is training for an emergency in Northern Europe

NATO has launched a large-scale exercise in northern Norway to train how to defend against an attack on the alliance. The Bundeswehr is also there with 1,500 soldiers.

Since midnight, NATO partners in northern Europe have been training to defend against an attack on alliance territory in a large-scale exercise. Around 1,500 German soldiers are also taking part in the “Nordic Response 2024” exercise, including 700 mountain troops, as the Bundeswehr announced.

The Bundeswehr wants to use the exercise to gain further practical experience under Arctic climatic conditions. The soldiers were supposed to counterattack from Alta in northern Norway to take southern areas that in this scenario were already occupied by an enemy.

According to Norwegian military information, a total of around 20,000 soldiers from 13 nations are taking part in the maneuver. These include Finland and Sweden, which decided to join the alliance after the Russian attack on Ukraine. The NATO countries are deploying a wide range of weapon systems for the exercise, including 100 aircraft as well as frigates and submarines.

Pistorius: “A lot of things come together here”

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius also traveled to Alta to start the active part of the maneuver. On Wednesday he visited a Norwegian military station on the border with Russia and offered increased involvement of the Bundeswehr in the far north, even if the world is currently focusing primarily on Ukraine and the Middle East. A significant part of Russia's military power is concentrated in the north, Pistorius said. “The traffic passes through here, the submarines cross here. A lot of things come together here that we in Central Europe only notice a little about.”

Norway borders Russia for 198 kilometers in the north. The next big city on the Russian side is Murmansk, where the Northern Fleet, which is strategically important for Russia, is located. This also includes nuclear submarines.

NATO is currently responding to the security policy situation with a whole series of exercises called “Steadfast Defender”. 90,000 soldiers are being mobilized in the alliance for this purpose. Germany is taking part in the large-scale maneuver with several of its own exercises under the name “Quadriga”. The exercises extend over a period of five months.

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