NATO, Poland, Publications, Slideshows, TIME, TIME Lightbox

On TIME Lightbox: See NATO’s Massive Training Exercises in Eastern Europe

TIME Photo
June 19, 2015

Associated Press TIME Photo

“The big buzz word was interoperability.”

Sergeant Stephen Murphy with the Fourth of the 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment of the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team monitors an airdrop from a C-17 aircraft that took off from Nuremberg, Germany before it drops members of his unit at the Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area in Poland on June 15, 2015.  NATO is engaged in a multilateral training exercise "Saber Strike," the first time Poland has hosted such war games, involving the militaries of Canada, Denmark, Germany, Poland, and the United States.

Sergeant Stephen Murphy with the Fourth of the 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment of the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team monitors an airdrop from a C-17 aircraft that took off from Nuremberg, Germany before it drops members of his unit at the Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area in Poland on June 15, 2015. NATO is engaged in a multilateral training exercise “Saber Strike,” the first time Poland has hosted such war games, involving the militaries of Canada, Denmark, Germany, Poland, and the United States.

Thousands of NATO troops took part in a two-week exercise in Poland and the Baltic states, practicing sea landings, airlifts and assaults, the Associated Press reports.

The series of massive maneuvers, each with its own code name, took place on NATO’s eastern flank and in the Baltic Sea, where 5,000 troops from 17 NATO and partner nations took part in the maritime BALTOPS exercises. This year, the naval maneuvers took place without Russia.

Freelance photographer Amanda Rivkin was embedded with multi-national troops in Drawsko Pomorskie, a northwestern Polish town. “The big buzz word was interoperability,” she said, referring to NATO’s goal to show that its members can cooperate in the face of a potential crisis. “This is clearly being done as a show of force against Russia’s show of force in Crimea and in the Baltic,” she added.

Polish and Baltic state leaders have made it clear that they want to host large numbers of U.S. and NATO forces as a deterrent in the face of a resurgent Russia, the AP reports. “We must know how to defend ourselves. It is our goal to assure a stable order,” said Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna.

See the full slideshow on TIME Lightbox.