International military exercises BALTOPS-2016 that involve 17 countries began in the south of Finland at Hanko Peninsula.
This was reported by the press service of the Finnish Navy.
The maneuvers under the leadership of the Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) are taking place for the 44th time, and this year Finland receives the first phase of the exercise, which will consist of three parts.
“In the Finnish part of the exercise, in addition to Finland, many other countries are involved: Sweden, the United States, the Netherlands, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Germany. The goal of this phase is to develop inter-operability of military units of the participating countries, and to prepare for the tactical portion of the exercise in Sweden,” the press service of Navy explained.
In addition, as part of the maneuvers, Finland will practice in joint sea operations with Sweden.
In total, 600 troops will take part in exercises in Hanko, taking place on June 6-8. It was noted in the Navy that the Finnish coast offers plenty of good and difficult conditions for military training.
In general, 6,100 troops, 49 ships, 60 aircraft and 3 submarines are planned to participate in BALTOPS this year. The exercises are conducted in Baltic Sea since 1972. Initially, only NATO member countries participated in them. Since 1993, other countries are invited, including Finland.