NATO Commences Snap "Northern Coast Exercise" in Baltic Sea

NATO Commences Snap "Northern Coast Exercise" in Baltic Sea

Today, Saturday September 9, 2023, NATO began a snap military exercise named "Northern Coast" in the Baltic Sea near St. Petersburg, Russia.

the "exercise" involves about 30 ships and more than 3,000 NATO member-country service members.  It will, for the first time, practice how to respond to a Russian assault in the region, Germany's navy chief said on Friday.

"We are sending a clear message of vigilance to Russia: Not on our watch," Vice-Admiral Jan Christian Kaack told reporters in Berlin. "Credible deterrence must include the ability to attack."

Troops from all NATO countries on the Baltic Sea, plus soon-to-be member Sweden and non-Baltic allies the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, will train side by side. They will practice amphibious operations and strikes from sea to land.

It is Russia they will be practicing to attack.  Even the name of the exercise, "Northern Coast" is a  direct reference to St. Petersburg, Russia, as seen on the map below:

The U.S. navy will send the Mesa Verde into the drills, Kaack said, a ship of more than 200 meters (656 ft) length, designed to transport and land some 800 marines in an amphibious assault.

 Securing the sea routes through the Baltic Sea is another focus of the exercise that will take place off the coasts of Latvia and Estonia.

"Finland and the Baltic states depend to almost 100% on the maritime supply routes through the Baltic Sea," Kaack noted.

"Should the Suwalki Gap be blocked - and this can be done easily as there are only two roads and one railroad line - then we are left with the sea routes only, and that's where we will then have to make our way through."

 The Suwalki Gap, a narrow land corridor of some 65 kilometers (40 miles), is the only connection linking the Baltic states to Poland and NATO's main territory in Europe.

It will be the first exercise of this size that the German navy, the biggest navy on the Baltic Sea according to Kaack, will command from its new maritime headquarters in Rostock which just reached operational readiness.

Germany aims to provide the facility to NATO as a regional maritime headquarters, capable of leading the alliance's operations in the Baltic Sea in case of a conflict.

It is vital to remember that just one mis-step by NATO during this so-called "exercise" will trigger a massive Russian defensive engagement to protect St. Petersburg.  


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