The U.S. and 18 European countries are preparing to perform "the largest naval exercise series in the Baltic Sea" for the 47th time.
The Baltic Operations Exercise (BALTOPS) will kick off on Sunday in Germany’s port city of Kiel.
Around 8,600 U.S. and European troops from 18 nations are taking part in the annual BALTOPS naval exercise, according to official website of NATO.
Participating troops come from NATO member countries Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Turkey, Spain, U.K. and U.S. Also, Sweden and Finland which are part of the EU but not NATO will participate in the exercise.
The 47th BALTOPS exercise involves maritime, air and land forces with some 50 submarines and 40 aircraft. It will run through June 21.
The training includes finding and destroying sea mines and submarines, air defense, and landing troops on shore.
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.
Reporting by Serife Cetin
Writing by Zehra Nur Duz