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To protect against threats from Russia: First NATO base opened in Albania

To protect against threats from Russia: First NATO base opened in Albania Photo: the first NATO base opened in Albania (

Albania has opened the first NATO base. The airbase, located 80 km south of the capital Tirana, is designed to protect the Western Balkans region from threats posed by Russia, informs NATO.

"This is another element of security from our region of the Western Balkans, which we know well may be endangered from the neo-imperialist threats and ambitions of the Russian Federation," stated the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama.

He also announced that initially, the airbase would house two Black Hawk helicopters and three Bayraktar strike drones. The opening ceremony was attended by the President of Albania, Bajram Begaj, Prime Minister Edi Rama, as well as military leadership from Albania and NATO.

It is reported that around 50 million euros have been allocated for the modernization of the Soviet-era base. The reconstruction of the facility began in 2019, during which time the runways, control tower, hangars, and warehouses were renovated. According to NATO Acting Spokesperson Dylan White, the airbase will serve as a crucial NATO hub, strengthening the alliance's presence in the Western Balkans.

To protect against threats from Russia: First NATO base opened in Albania

NATO training

In the first half of 2024, NATO is conducting a series of exercises under the overall code name Steadfast Defender-24. Poland is one of the participating countries and will host a significant number of soldiers and equipment from allies on its territory. As part of Steadfast Defender-24, Poland will also conduct national exercises called Dragon-24, involving the armed forces of other countries.

Additionally, on March 4th, large-scale military exercises called Nordic Response 24 began in northern Finland, Sweden, and Norway. These exercises, led by Norway, will continue until March 15th. Approximately 20,000 military personnel from 14 countries, along with over 50 ships, including frigates and submarines, and more than 100 aircraft, including destroyers, helicopters, and other aircraft, will participate.

Furthermore, in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Sicily, maritime exercises named Dynamic Manta began on the morning of February 26th. These NATO exercises serve as a platform to test and enhance the Alliance's crisis response capabilities.