NATO begins major training exercise in Baltic Sea

A vast naval military exercise involving 14 NATO countries, including Belgium, began on Saturday in the Baltic Sea, against the backdrop of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

About 30 ships and submarines, 19 aircraft and various land units are involved in the Northern Coasts 23 exercise under German command, the German navy said in a statement. More than 3,200 soldiers will be training “in a realistic scenario within the framework of NATO’s defence for the first time since these manoeuvres began in 2007”, Admiral Stephan Haisch said.

In previous years, they were mainly preparing to ward off attacks by terrorists, traffickers and piracy, or to take part in international missions. 

The operation, which is due to last until 23 September, will take place in the coastal waters of Estonia and Latvia, including associated land and airspace, as well as eastern and central parts of the Baltic Sea. The two former Soviet countries, now members of NATO, border Russia. 

This is the first time the German navy has planned and led manoeuvres of this magnitude. The aim is to optimise cooperation between naval, land and air forces.

The Northern Coasts exercises were launched in 2007 and command rotates between Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. This year, the exercise also involves Belgium, the US, France, Italy, Estonia, Canada, Lithuania, Latvia, the Netherlands and Poland.

Manoeuvres will not take place near Kaliningrad, the small landlocked Russian enclave in the EU, to avoid provocation, according to the German navy.

Russia regularly conducts its own military exercises in the Baltic, as it did recently in August.


A US Navy warship en route to the Northern Coast exercise sails through the Baltic Sea © PHOTO IMAGO

Related news

Website preview
NATO SUMMIT: Ukraine will be invited to join 'when conditions are met'
NATO will invite Ukraine to join the military alliance, but only when member states agree and requirements are met, secretary-general Jens...

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels