Dozens of Russian ships took part in military exercises in the Baltic Sea on Thursday, against the backdrop of rising tensions over this strategic extension where NATO is currently conducting exercises.
“As part of these exercises, tactical naval groups of the Baltic Fleet left their bases and deployed to designated areas,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
According to him, about 60 ships, 40 aircraft and helicopters are taking part in these maneuvers, which are also taking place on the ground, at training centers in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.
And on Tuesday, about two dozen Russian ships have already taken part in exercises in this area.
The Russian exercises come as NATO has been holding major annual naval exercises in the Baltic Sea since Sunday, dubbed “Baltops 22”, which is scheduled to run until June 17.
This intense military activity falls within the context of heightened tensions between Moscow and Western countries since the launch of a Russian military offensive in Ukraine at the end of February.
Listen to Richard Martineau’s interview with Michelle Roche, Russia Specialist and Professor of Political Science at UQAC, via QUB Radio:
The Baltic Sea, a strategic region, became the center of much attention last month with the formalization of the nominations of Sweden and Finland to join NATO, an organization Moscow considers hostile to its interests.
Such membership, which Turkey has for the time being denied, would make the Baltic Sea a “NATO lake”, and other riparian countries, with the exception of Russia, already part of this bloc.
In a sign of the renewed interest in the region, the US Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley, traveled to Stockholm on Saturday aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kearsarge, a powerful helicopter carrier designed to deploy troops to enemy shores.
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