Nato wannabe welcomes US, French and German warships – Reuters

Two American warships and a French navy ship joined a German frigate in Helsinki on Friday. Finland has applied to join NATO and organizes a number of exercises with other countries. Sweden, another candidate, will host a major NATO exercise next month.

The USS Gravely, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the USS Gunston Hall, a Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship, and the French Navy’s Type F70 anti-submarine vessel Latouche -Treville docked in the Finnish capital on Friday and will remain until Monday, Finnish authorities reported.

The warships joined the German Navy ship the Sachsen, the leader of its class of air defense frigates. It arrived in Helsinki on Wednesday, having taken part in a joint exercise with the Finnish coastal fleet earlier in the week.

The two US Navy ships also conducted a joint naval exercise in the Baltic. It also involved the USS Kearsarge, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, as well as Finnish and Swedish forces. Sweden sent its second largest warship, the HSwMS Carlskrona, to take part in the exercise.

After the maneuvers near Finland, the USS Kearsarge sailed for Stockholm, where it is scheduled to participate in the massive NATO exercise Baltops 2022. The 51st iteration of the annual exercise will take place June 5-17 and will involve 14 allies plus Finland. and Sweden. More than 45 maritime units, 75 aircraft and about 7,000 personnel will participate in the exercise, according to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

Finland and Sweden have long been tightly integrated into NATO, but have refrained from joining the US-led bloc due to national traditions of non-alignment and Russia’s opposition to enlargement. of NATO in Europe. The position changed after Moscow launched an attack on Ukraine. Russia accuses NATO of encroaching on Ukraine’s territory without a formal expansion, as it cited reasons for the attack.

The two Nordic nations applied for full membership of the alliance earlier this month, but must overcome resistance from Turkey before they can be admitted. Ankara has accused Finland and Sweden of “harbouring terrorists” and compromising Turkey’s security with an arms embargo, among other things.


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