Sweden's Armed Forces say that the military exercise, Aurora 17, which involves several NATO countries, including the USA, will strengthen Sweden's ability to withstand an attack. Sweden is not a member of NATO.
"This is a really big problem for us because the exercise is part of Sweden getting closer and closer to NATO. The exercise itself is an example of this because troops from four or five NATO countries will take part in the Aurora in Sweden. We strongly oppose Swedish politics turning closer to NATO," Tomas Magnusson, chairman of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Association's local office in Gothenburg said.
The Armed Forces emphasize that it is not a NATO exercise but a Swedish national defense force exercise. It says the participation of foreign forces will improve the manoeuvres and allow Sweden to practise the ability to receive and support foreign troops.
The exercise is the largest in Sweden for over 20 years, with about 20,000 participants. It will concentrate in particular around Mälardalen, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Gotland between September 11 and September 29.
Several NATO countries are invited to participate, including the United States and France.
It is noteworthy that the exercises in Sweden began three days before the beginning of the large-scale joint military exercises of Russia and Belarus West-2017.
As it was reported earlier Rapid Trident 2017 drills started on September 9. The first phase of the Ukrainian-American military exercise has begun.
American partners from one of the US military air bases came to Ukraine for the drills, in order to teach Ukrainian pilots how to cooperate with other types of military under various conditions.