The country’s Defense Ministry says the massive exercises will include 26,000 military forces and will last until May 11.
Sweden launched on Monday Aurora-23, the largest military exercises the country has witnessed in 25 years, which will involve 14 countries and around 26,000 servicemembers, according to a RIA Novosti report.
Members from the US, UK, Germany, France, Ukraine, Finland, Poland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, and Austria will take part in the training that ends on May 11.
“The purpose of the exercises is to strengthen the potential gathered against an armed attack on Sweden… Aurora-23 is the largest national exercise of its kind in the last 25 years. It involves 14 countries and approximately 26,000 men and women,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The country’s land, naval, and air forces, in addition to para-military trained groups, will take part in the drills that will take place on the island of Gotland and neighboring regions south of the Kingdom.
Lieutenant Colonel Henrik Larsson, the planning director of the drills, said the exercises aim to develop Sweden’s military capabilities to repel an attack on the country and consider it a means to prepare the Armed Forces to become a potential NATO member.
“The purpose of Aurora 23 is to enhance the Swedish Armed Forces’ collected capability to counter an armed attack on Sweden, and also to exercise the entire chain of raised readiness to mobilisation to receive a third party for HNS, as well as a way to prepare us to be a member of Nato,” said Lieutenant Larsson.
Last February, Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson said Stockholm aims to further integrate its military relations with NATO as the country’s accession into the coalition is facing obstacles after talks with Turkey have been put to a halt.
“I think there are about 15 acts to be signed and we are seeing an increasingly deep integration of Sweden into NATO in the military sphere,” he said then.