"Selfie" by a Norwegian F-16 pilot over Troms during Cold Response 2014. The Norwegian Air Force has had up to 35 daily missions during the exercise. (Photo from the Armed Forces' Facebook account)
Cold Response 2014 is coming to an end. The exercise brought together nearly 16,000 troops from 16 different countries to Northern Norway to train high-intensity operations in cold-weather environments. Russian observers took part as planned.
For the last two weeks 16,000 soldiers from 16 different NATO countries have trained together in Troms and Nordland counties. It is one of the largest “joint combined” exercise in Europe, meaning that units come from all military branches – air force, navy, army, home guard and special forces, and are under command by a joint headquarter.
“The field practice part of the exercise is over, but also redeployment is regarded as part of the drills, so Cold Response 2014 is not over until every participant is back in his or her home base”, Press spokesperson at the Joint Command Headquarters Ivar Moen says to BarentsObserver.
Moen does not want to comment on whether the situation on Crimea has had any influence on the exercise, but says that the invited Russian guests have taken part as planned. Two Russian military attachés visited the exercise together with 17 other attachés from foreign embassies in Norway, while one Russian observer has inspected the drills as part of a team from OSCE.
The NATO exercise means large incomes for local business in the training area. Estimates show that the armed forces leave some NOK 30 million (€3.6 million) in towns and settlements in Nordland and Troms during the two weeks the drills are going on.