In response to rising threats from Russia, Sweden will simulate war in what’s being called the Aurora 17 exercise. U.S. marines, reconnaissance troops and Apache helicopters will be based on the island of Gotland, which in recent history has only had a military presence since 2015, after a decade of international missions and requests from the Baltic states to again “take the defense of Gotland more seriously.”

Sweden, one of the few European countries not in Nato, is planning the Aurora 17 exercise with 20,000 soldiers as “a statement of intent.” It’s happening at the same time as Russia and Belarus’s large Zapad exercise; about which Swedish Minister for Defense Peter Hultqvist said, “If you control Gotland, you have control over the sea and the airways toward the Baltic states.”

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More on the Swedish "war games" ... the largest military exercise in Sweden since 1993