Military forces from 31 countries began NATO's largest exercise in decades, stretching from the Baltic Sea to Iceland, Thursday, practicing military maneuvers close to Russia, which held a huge military drill last month.
As temperatures fell below freezing this week across training grounds in central Norway, giving a taste of what it means to defend NATO's vast northern flank, some 50,000 troops, 250 aircraft and 10,000 tanks, trucks and other land-based vehicles were ready.
Dubbed Trident Juncture, it is by far the biggest NATO exercise in Norway since the early 1980s.
The two-week exercise a sign that the alliance wants to sharpen its defenses after years of cost cuts and far-flung combat missions.
Amid increasing anti-Russian policies and rhetoric from politicians in North America and Western Europe over the past few years, Norway has sought to double the number of U.S. Marines receiving training on its soil every year.
Russia last month held its biggest maneuvers since 1981, called Vostok-2018 (East-2018), mobilizing 300,000 troops in a show of force close to China's border which included joint drills with the Chinese and Mongolian armies.