Finland joins first Nato collective defence drill

The Nordic Response 24 military exercise led by Norway begins on Monday in the northern parts of Finland, Sweden and Norway.

The 12-day drill is significant for Finland as in addition to being the largest exercise the Finnish Defence Forces has ever joined abroad, it’s also the first time Finland is practicing the alliance’s collective defence as a Nato member.

Nordic Response encompasses land, sea and air exercises, bringing together some 20,000 participants from 14 countries, including 4,100 Finnish soldiers.

Alexander Stubb, who was sworn in on Friday as Finland’s new president, said he will make his first foreign trip to inspect the military alliance’s drill in Norway on 7 March.

“If someone had told me two years ago that the president of Finland would make his first working visit to Nato exercises a week after his inauguration, I wouldn’t have believed it,” news agency AP reported Stubb as saying on Friday.

More than 100 aircraft from Finland, Sweden, Norway and other Nato nations are taking part in the drills, which involve fighter jets, air refuelling tankers, transport and surveillance planes, as well as various helicopters.

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