BALTOPS 23 military drills taking place in Kurzeme, Latvia

Take note – story published 1 year ago

From June 4 to 16, a large-scale annual international military exercise "BALTOPS 23" takes place in the Baltic Sea region, with the participation of 19 NATO members and one ally, Sweden.

Participating nations are Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Türkiye, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Training on the coast of Kurzeme began Monday with 50 ships, 6,000 soldiers, and 45 different technical units. The Latvian National Armed Forces are represented by the Air Force, the Naval Force, including the diving team, the Land Force Mechanised Infantry Brigade and the National Guard.

"This is a great opportunity. These drills are expensive. Very expensive. There are very many involved, and they are planning at least a year in advance. I would say so: Lucky are the ones who can be on this side and get a chance to practice with their allies during their service. Familiarity with equipment, familiarity with procedures. Friends, too, extending the circle of acquaintances," the National Guard 4th Lieutenant-Colonel Edmunds Svenčs of the Kurzeme Brigade told TV Kurzeme on Wednesday.

The aim of this drill is to improve cooperation between the various weapons and fighting methods and to test real preparedness for the protection of the Baltic region during joint exercises, which has become particularly important following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

"It's not just an imitation anymore. Now, when you do all the tasks, even if they are just learning, this sense of reality comes to it. All of this can become very real. You know more about how important it is to be in this alliance, how important we have made the right decisions in the past and are here today," Svenčs said.

International military exercises will continue until June 16. Various tactical operations will take place in Kurzeme, so allied ships will be visible at sea, air forces above populated areas, and armored transport on Latvian roads.

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