Cold Response 2022, NATO’s largest exercise in the Arctic in the last 30 years, continues in cold weather conditions across Norway – on land, in the air and at sea.
The war game that began on March 14 will continue till April 1. As many as 30,000 troops from 27 countries from Europe and North America are part of the Norwegian-led exercise, including partners Finland and Sweden.
A statement said 220 aircraft have been deployed, as well as 50 ships, including two aircraft carrier groups from the UK and Italy.
NATO said the Cold Response is a long-planned and regular exercise, which Norway hosts biannually, adding that this year's drill was announced over eight months ago and is not linked to Russia's war on Ukraine on Feb. 24.
On March 25, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met troops participating in the exercise in northern Norway, and said it showed "NATO unity and strength in action."
Stoltenberg said the High North is a region of strategic importance for NATO and that in recent years there had been a significant increase in Russian military activity in the region.
He underlined that NATO’s presence in the area is not to provoke a conflict, but to prevent conflict and to preserve peace.
He said Norway invited all 57 members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe to observe the exercise, but Russia declined that invitation.