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The large-scale military exercises named Gelezinis Vilkas 2019 (Iron
Wolf 2019) started in Lithuania. About four thousand soldiers from 10
countries and more than a thousand units of equipment will participate
in the exercises, and it will continue for two weeks, reports the command of the Lithuanian army.
“The purpose of the exercise, which involves units of Lithuanian
Armed Forces, as well as personnel and equipment of NATO allies, is the
integration of all these forces and means into a single combat system
that is capable of planning and performing combat missions effectively,”
the report said.
These are the most massive maneuvers for Lithuania this year.
Soldiers from the USA, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, the
Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Estonia participate
in it, as well as the Lithuanian military. Some of them are part of the
NATO forward-based composite battalion quartered in Lithuania.
The exercises will be held at the training range in Pabrade (Eastern
part of Lithuania close to the Belarus border) and the
Gailiunai training range (middle of the country). Military equipment
from the places of permanent deployment will be transported to the
location of exercises using civilian highways, and military police will
accompany it. Several parts of the maneuvers will be held in
coordination with the local authorities in the adjacent civilian areas.
Around 8,600 U.S. and European troops from 18 nations are taking part in the annual BALTOPS naval exercise that starts on Sunday (9 June) in Germany’s Baltic Sea port of Kiel. The 47th BALTOPS exercise involves maritime, air and ground forces with about 50 ships and submarines and 40 aircraft and will run through 21 June. The training includes finding and destroying sea mines and submarines, the use of air defence and landing troops onshore as well as defence against attack from enemy navy vessels.
“The Baltic Sea is of vital strategic importance for the Alliance and is bordered by six NATO countries”, said NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu. “BALTOPS
is now in its 47th year and is not directed against anyone – but
clearly the security environment in the region has deteriorated after
Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.” She added, ”BALTOPS tests how well our forces work together and shows that NATO can defend itself against any adversary.”
BALTOPS is the largest exercise series in the Baltic Sea.
Participating troops come from Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland,
France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland,
Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the
United States. Russia used to participate in the exercise but has not
been invited since its illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its
continuing destabilizing of eastern Ukraine.
This year’s BALTOPS is run by the U.S. Navy’s 2nd Fleet command in
Norfolk, Virginia and marks the command’s first major engagement in
Europe. The 2nd Fleet command was re-established last year in response
to Russia’s growing naval activity in the Atlantic. Vice Admiral Andrew
Lewis will run BALTOPS from the U.S.S Mount Whitney command ship.
BALTOPS will also be among the first major training opportunities for
the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, a 3,000 strong force drawn from
several NATO and partner countries.
As part of the exercise, naval infantry forces will conduct
amphibious assaults in several locations within the Baltic Sea region.
NATO’s Air Operations Centre in Uedem will direct all air operations.
Aircraft will work with naval forces to provide air defence,
surveillance and provide cover for amphibious operations. Upon
conclusion of the exercise, most ships will sail to Kiel to participate
in the Kielerwochen naval parade.
Maritime forces from 18 nations commenced the in-port operations for
the 47th annual multinational exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) in
the Baltic Sea, June 9-21.
BALTOPS is the premier annual maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic
region and one of the largest exercises in northern Europe, enhancing
flexibility and interoperability among allied and partner nations.
Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, commander of the U.S. 2nd Fleet, will lead the exercise on behalf of Naval Forces Europe.
“No one nation can face today’s challenges alone, we are much
stronger together,” Lewis said. “Our partner and NATO alliances must
continue to strengthen our deterrence and defense efforts and adapt
through improving readiness and responsiveness.”
The focus of the exercise is for ground, maritime and air forces to
work together in exercising air defense, maritime interdiction,
anti-subsurface warfare, mine countermeasures and amphibious operations,
to strengthen the development of joint teams across all layers of the
The exercise will include the participation of 50 surface ships, 36
aircraft, two submarines and 8,600 personnel in a joint operational
“I think BALTOPS represents the habit we have made in operating in a
coalition environment and in a multinational environment,” said U.K.
Royal Navy Rear Adm. Andrew Burns OBE. “One of the advantages,
particularly in the NATO framework, as we operate together more and more
we standardize our procedures so we now have a generation of military
folk who are used to operating together with standard procedures.”
Nations participating in BALTOPS 2019 include Belgium, Denmark,
Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands,
Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United
Kingdom and the United States.
BALTOPS is an opportunity to promote partnerships, presence, and
professionalism through an unambiguous display of strength in the Baltic
Russian Western Military
District units will begin a joint exercise with the Armed Forces of
Belarus this year. The operation is referred to as “Union Shield
2019”. The exercise is reported to involve 8 thousand soldiers, 400
vehicles of a variety of types, including 90 tanks, along with 70
examples of fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. Belarus is going to be
represented by more than 1000 soldiers.
The “Union Shield – 2019”
exercise is going to take place within the period between 13th and
19th September 2019, under the command of the Russian Chief Of
General Staff and Belorussian Chief Of General Staff. The operational
activity will begin within the Gorokhovetsky training ground in
Nizhny Novgorod region. The initial phase of the exercise will cover
the regrouping procedure of the units after long marches, and
coordination of the joint operations of the Russian and Belarusian
units. The operations are to be focused on increased
interoperability, the aim of which is to “defend the sovereignty
and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation and the Republic
The “Union Shield” is a
large-scale exercise of Belarus and Russia, which were held three
times (in 2006 on the Belarusian territory, in 2011 and 2015 – in
the territory of the Russian Federation). In 2015, they took place in
the Pskov and Leningrad regions.