Several countries launch simultaneous military exercises in the Arctic
© Igor Zarembo

Several countries launch simultaneous military exercises in the Arctic

The Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet launched drills in the Barents Sea to practice defense of the country’s Arctic borders.

“Today, the Northern Fleet’s naval task forces launched a two-sided classification tactical exercise as part of their summer combat training schedule for the Barents Sea region. The drills focus on protecting the Russian Federation’s Arctic borders from naval threats,” the Fleet’s press service reported.

It was also reported that the exercise involves coastal units, over 20 warships and submarines, as well as about 10 fixed-wing planes and helicopters.

“At various stages of the exercise, homogeneous and heterogeneous tactical groups will practice joint operations, cooperate with aviation units, escort a warship unit and defend it from ‘enemy’ submarines and various air-to-surface weapons systems, and they will also repel ‘enemy’ warship units,” the press service added.

The biennial Arctic Challenge Exercise involving Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian air forces also kicked off in the region. This year, it also includes a US Marine Corps unit.

According to the Russian Embassy in the United States, the Arctic Challenge Exercise involving US forces is provocative because it runs counter to the peaceful development of the Arctic region.

“Exercises #ArcticChallenge with participation of @HQUSAFEAFAF are provocative. These maneuvers do not establish any framework for mutual trust in Europe and contradict to peaceful and sustainable development of #ArcticRegion,” the Embassy said on its Twitter account.

According to the Finnish Air Force’s website, the 250-strong USMC unit has 10 F/A-18 Hornet fighters, two KC-130 aerial refueling tankers and transport aircraft from the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452 (VMGR-452).