The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has launched major war games in the Baltic region with a stated intent to simulate a "realistic scenario" in which NATO is under threat.
The war games, dubbed Northern Coasts, kicked off Saturday and will go for two weeks, and further simulate a scenario in which NATO triggers its Article 5 mutual defense clause. Thus the games simulate a US military intervention in Europe.
The drills, happening off the Latvian and Estonian coasts, are intended to send a clear message to Russia, with Acting NATO Spokesperson Dylan White saying, "Credible deterrence must include the ability to attack." White then emphasized that "Exercises like these send a clear message that NATO stands ready to defend every inch of Allied territory."
"Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has radically altered the security situation in the Baltic Sea," White said further.
Germany is leading the exercises, alongside the US, and significantly newest NATO member Finland is participating, as well as non-member Sweden. In total 14 countries are involved.
German Navy chief Vice Admiral Jan Christian Kaack spelled out to Reuters: "We are sending a clear message of vigilance to Russia: Not on our watch," he said.
"Above all, ensuring this protection [from Russia' means exercises, presence, and permanent vigilance – together with our partners in Nato and the EU," Kaack continued.
An official NATO press release further details that the games will simulate "amphibious operations, air defense, strikes from sea to land, and securing sea lanes." Northern Coasts drills have been happening annually going back to 2007.
It should be noted that in the summer of 2022, NATO also held the BALTOPS war games in the Baltic Sea, which was in the vicinity of the very location where the Nord Stream pipelines later blew up and leaked. Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh said that the CIA was behind the Sept. 26 sabotage explosions, and that the prior war games had served as cover to plant the devices later detonated.