NATO troops first landed in Finland

During the annual military exercise Baltops 2016, the Maritime phase, which began on 6 June, units of the NATO countries for the first time landed on the territory of Finland, which is not included in the Alliance, reports the Finnish portal Yle.

The exercise participants will for three days to work out the landing and the subsequent conduct of hostilities on the Peninsula of Hanko at the site of Sundale. Will be parachuted infantry fighting vehicles of the United States, 200 U.S. Marines, 60 British soldiers, 50 German and reconnaissance platoon from Italy. The operation will involve landing ship, USS Carter Hall and the largest ship of the Royal Navy HMS Queen, clarifies the issue.

Just exercise BALTOPS in 2016 6100 soldiers involved, about 49 ships, 60 aircraft and three submarines. This year the exercises will be held in the 44 th time, they are attended by military personnel from 17 countries. Finland participates in BALTOPS since 1993, said in a statement on the website of the naval forces of Finland. As stated on the page of exercises on the website of NATO, are the main BALTOPS naval exercise in the Baltic sea region, as well as one of the largest exercises in Northern Europe.

“In 2016, they will serve to demonstrate the possibilities of joint action of the allies and NATO partners, as well as a demonstration of the countries in the region commitment to NATO security and stability in the Baltic sea region, the report said. Training will be held in the entire spectrum of warfare, including defense exercises, practicing anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare, and conducting amphibious operations.

Starting in 2014 in the Baltic sea region has significantly increased military and political tensions. Repeatedly received reports of incidents involving Russian military planes and ships in the Baltic. April 29, the U.S. military said that a Russian su-27 made a dangerous maneuver near the reconnaissance aircraft of the U.S. air force. 14 April it became known about intercept a Russian su-27 U.S. spy plane RC-135.

One of the most resonant cases was the convergence of Russian su-24 bombers with the American destroyer “Donald cook” in the Baltic sea in April, which the head of the state Department of the USA John Kerry called “provocative.”

May 13, 2016, USA, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden in a joint statement called on Russia to ensure that its military manoeuvres and exercises have been conducted in full compliance with international obligations and commitments in relation to security and stability. In the statement concern “a growing military presence (Russia) in the Baltic sea area, the demonstration of nuclear capability, unannounced exercises and provocative actions undertaken by Russian aircraft and naval vessels”.

At the same time frequent flights of strategic reconnaissance aircraft RC-135V US air force near the border with Russia. The Russian defense Ministry has repeatedly stated that the Russian pilots and sailors were operating in the Baltic sea in strict accordance with international rules.

In January 2016 Finland announced the creation of a special Commission, which will assess the possibility of joining NATO.May 1, 2016, the President of Finland Sauli Niinistö said that his country and Sweden will jointly make the decision about NATO membership. According to Niinistö, Finland will need to hold a referendum.