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Saturday, 8 March 2014

NATO holds ‘invasion’ exercise in northern Norway


NATO is launching a military exercise involving 16,000 soldiers from 16 countries in the north of Norway, to practise stopping a surprise invasion, the Norwegian army announced today. The army was quick to add that the multi-national exercise dubbed Cold Response had been planned for a long time and had nothing to do with the current tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine, where Russian forces have taken effective control of Crimea.

“We have been working on this scenario for two years,” Lieutenant Colonel Terje Bruoeygard, a spokesman for the exercise, told AFP.

According to the Norwegian officer, the exercise involving air, sea and land forces will simulate a surprise invasion of the country by a fictitious nation from the north followed by an intervention by allied forces.

The goal is to train troops of the NATO alliance in combat in a cold environment like northern Norway near the Arctic Circle. There will be international observers including Russians.

It involves 9,000 Norwegian soldiers and 7,000 from other NATO countries, including Britain, France and the United States, as well the non-aligned Sweden and Switzerland.

This year will mark the seventh time NATO has held this military exercise since 2006, with the major manoeuvres taking place between March 12-19. — AFP

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