After Sweden became a full member of NATO just a few months ago, and Finland became one last year, NATO is now strongly represented along the shores of the Baltic Sea. This puts the annual naval exercise BALTOPS in a new light when it gets underway today.

The Baltic Sea is a very important sea area in terms of security policy and military strategy. Therefore, every year, a large number of countries carry out a large-scale naval exercise in the Baltic Sea called BALTOPS.

When this year’s edition of BALTOPS kicks off today, however, it will be in a completely new light, as Sweden was admitted as a full member just a few months ago – in March. And just last year, Finland joined the NATO alliance as a full member. Within just two years, NATO has achieved that the Baltic Sea is now almost surrounded by NATO countries. This makes NATO’s ability to secure the sea area even greater.

“With Finland’s and now also Sweden’s admission as a full member of NATO in March, not only these two countries themselves, but also the other countries around the Baltic Sea, such as the Baltic countries and also Denmark, have significantly increased their security in the neighbouring areas,” says Rear Admiral Henrik Ryberg, Chief of the Navy.

“The fact that our close neighbors and close partners are now part of the important military-strategic alliance means that the Baltic Sea is almost surrounded by NATO countries, and that we can coordinate our security and military presence much more. In light of this, I think that this year’s BALTOPS exercise is more relevant and important than ever, because we can now train also together with Sweden and Finland,” he says.