Tallinn. May 30. INTERFAX – More than 30 NATO warships will arrive in Estonia to participate in the largest naval exercises in the Baltic Sea this year, BALTOPS 23, the main headquarters of the Defense Forces said on Tuesday.

“The BALTOPS exercise will be a historic event for us, because so far Estonia has never received so many NATO ships. The Baltops 23 exercise demonstrates the readiness of the Allies to defend the Baltic Sea, and also shows the extreme importance of conducting training in our waters,” said Commander of the Estonian Navy, Commodore Jüri Saska.

Ships from the United States, Sweden, Poland, Holland, Italy, Germany, Great Britain, France, Denmark, Spain, Lithuania, Latvia, Finland and Norway arrive to participate in the exercise, which will begin on Saturday in Tallinn.

The largest participating ship is USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), the flagship of the U.S. 6th Fleet.

On Tuesday, the first ships arrived in Tallinn. The French corvette Commandant Blaison (F793) docked in the port of Beckery-Meerus, and the British landing ship HMS Albion (L14) docked in the Old Port of Tallinn.

The ships will leave the ports on June 4, and the first joint exercises in Estonian waters will take place on June 5. During the exercise, the ships will moor in Tallinn in the Mine Harbor, the harbors of Vanasadam, Hondipea, Bekkeri-Meerus, as well as in the port of Muuga.
The annual large-scale international exercise Baltops has been held since 1972. Their goal is to develop the flexibility of the participating countries in conducting land, air and sea operations in the Baltic Sea region. The US Navy’s 6th Fleet is responsible for organizing the exercises.

The Estonian Navy has been planning this event in cooperation with allies and partners for about three years, the report says.