On July 20th, the Latvian city of Aluksne will host the opening of the NATO international military exercise Rescue Medcare.
This will be the year's largest exercise, reported the Latvian Defense Ministry's press service. In April Latvia together with other six East and Central European nations became a full-fledged member of the Alliance.
According to the ministry's spokesman Ivars Grinbergs, the headquarters of the two-week exercise will be located in Aluksne, not far from the Russian border.
The exercise itself will take place in the Latvian port of Liepaja, where a naval base is stationed, the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda, in the Estonian cities of Tallinn and Tapa and in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia.
It will involve about 2,000 servicemen and civilians from 18 countries - Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, the USA, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan.
The exercise aims at "improving cooperation of armed forces with state and non-state structures in managing critical situations," the press service reported.
Among other things, the participants will train methods of anti-terrorist fight, humanitarian and medical assistance to eliminate consequences of natural calamities.
The exercise is held as part of the NATO program Partnership for Peace. It will be coordinated by the command of the US troops in Europe.