Russia has announced the launch of naval exercises involving approximately 60 warships in the Baltic Sea amid heightened tensions over the war in Ukraine, and Finland and Sweden’s demands to join NATO.
The Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD) released a video on YouTube on Thursday that purported to show “the planned operational exercise with Baltic Fleet groups.”
The images show Russian warships maneuvering at sea, with the Russian defense ministry stating that the exercises involved “about 60 warships, boats and support ships; over 40 planes and helicopters; and up to 2,000 armed units, as well as military and special equipment of the Baltic Fleet.”
“In the Baltic Sea and at the combat training grounds in the Kaliningrad region, a planned operational exercise with Baltic Fleet groups has begun,” a statement from the ministry read.
“As part of the exercise, the Baltic Fleet naval task forces left their bases and deployed fleet groups in designated areas.
“The ships will carry out preparatory tasks for the protection and defense of sea lanes and fleet bases,” it added.
The Baltic Sea is located in northern Europe, an eastern arm of the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by NATO member states Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.
The naval exercises come at a time when Finland and Sweden are preparing to join NATO after decades of neutrality.