The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) would launch huge military exercises in Norway with 30,000 troops later this month amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Cold Response 2022, the largest NATO exercise planned for this year, would bring together forces from 27 nations from mid-March to early April to train on land, sea, and air.
Member states of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), including Russia, have been invited to send observers to follow the exercise.
However, Russia declined.
“Russia thanked for the offer to send observers during Cold Response 22 but declined,” Norwegian army spokesman Preben Aursand said, adding that the reasons for the refusal were not known.
Aursand said foreign troops have arrived in Norway, going back several weeks, even months, and more troops were expected in the coming days.
The Norwegian army said the number of troops announced to participate was initially more than 40,000, but the number now went down to around 30,000.
“Some nations have chosen to use their troops in other ways,” Aursand added.
In addition to NATO members, Finland and Sweden, two officially non-aligned nations, were expected to send contingents.
Meanwhile, troops from the US and the UK have arrived at military camps in the Troms and Nordland regions inside the Arctic Circle and were preparing to deploy one carrier battle group each during the exercise.
According to reports, the drill was to reinforce Norway militarily and test the deployment of the NATO Response Force.
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