US,Europe Hold Baltic Sea Navy Exercise

WARSAW,Poland (AP) -- Some 4,000 U.S. and European troops are taking part in the annual Baltic Operations navy exercise on the Baltic Sea, designed to enhance their joint response capabilities at a time when the region feels threatened by Russia's activities.

The 45th edition of the so-called BALTOPS exercise aims to demonstrate the resolve among NATO and its partner nations to ensure security and readiness to defend the region.

The exercise involves maritime, air and ground forces from 14 nations, with some 50 ships and submarines and over 50 aircraft. It opened Thursday in Poland's navy port of Szczecin and will run through June 16.

BALTOPS began in 1972 as a NATO exercise. Former Eastern Bloc nations joined in 1993, as they opened efforts to join the alliance.

(KA)