NATO Arctic exercises buffer against Russia

 

NATO Arctic exercises buffer against Russia. Photo: Capt. Katrina Herrera / U.S. Marine Corps

 

 

 

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg will observe the organization’s Cold Response exercise in Bardufoss, Norway, today, where NATO troops are undergoing cold weather coordination training.

The drills come as the Russia-Ukraine war has brought the traditionally unaligned status of Sweden and Finland into question. Recent polling indicates a majority of the countries’ populations support NATO accession. While Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has ruled out joining the alliance, the Finnish Parliament is expected to decide on the issue in the coming months.

A Swedish or Finnish entry into NATO would significantly enhance the organization’s capabilities, a result of both countries’ geographic proximity to Baltic member states and their lack of post-Cold War cuts to defense spending. Such a move would increase tensions with Russia, which recently threatened consequences should the nations choose to join.

In the short-term, an entry into NATO by either nation is unlikely. To do so would require them undergo the organization’s accession process and integrate their militaries with NATO command. However, expect increasing defense cooperation with NATO members in the form of joint exercises and technology sharing.

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