NATO’s New Provocation: Hours from Russia’s Border

June 2nd, 2023 - by Kyle Anzalone / The Libertarian Institute

NATO Holds Arctic War Games
Hours From Russian Border

Kyle Anzalone / The Libertarian Institute

(May 31, 2023) — The North Atlantic alliance began military drills hosted by Finland just miles from the Russian border. An American defense official said the war games show the bloc’s commitment to the newest member of NATO.

US Army Major-General Gregory Anderson said on Tuesday, “We are here, we are committed. The US Army is here training with our newest NATO ally to build that capability, to help defend Finland if anything happened.”

About 7,500 NATO soldiers are participating in the exercises — dubbed “Northern Forest 23.” The drills are taking place just a two-hour drive from the Russian border in northern Finland and will run from May 27 to June 2. Reuters described the war games as “Finland’s biggest modern-time land force drill above the Arctic Circle.”

A Finnish Army press release detailed the multiple weapons systems allies will deploy for drills.” The equipment of the international forces will include, among others, Warrior infantry fighting vehicles [from the UK], MLRS rocket launcher systems [from the US and UK] and CV90 infantry fighting vehicles [from Sweden and Norway],” the statement said.

Helsinki is NATO’s newest member. When Finland became a member of the North Atlantic alliance, it doubled the bloc’s border with Russia. At over 800 miles, Helsinki has a longer border with Moscow than any other member of NATO.

Tensions between Brussels and Moscow have soared due to the alliance’s support for Kiev. However, the confrontation between Russia and the West has spread to other regions of Europe as well. Washington has increased its military presence in the Arctic as a show of force eyeing Moscow.

Last week, the USS Gerald Ford — the world’s largest aircraft carrier — made a port call in Norway. The Ford is the first American aircraft carrier to visit Oslo after six decades.

The warship will now travel into the Arctic Circle to conduct war games. A spokesperson for Oslo said, “This visit is an important signal of the close bilateral relationship between the US and Norway and a signal of the credibility of collective defense and deterrence.”

The Russian embassy in Norway denounced the Ford’s maneuvers as unnecessary. “There are no questions in the (Arctic) north that require a military solution, nor topics where outside intervention is needed,” the embassy posted on Facebook.

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.