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8,000 NATO troops launch exercise near Russian-Norwegian border (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

• https://www.rt.com

The Joint Viking 2017 exercises, which involve British, American and Norwegian troops, kicked off Monday and are expected to last until March 15. According to the Norwegian Armed Forces website, the exercises' primary goals are to practice crisis management and the defense of Norway.

A total of 8,000 troops are taking part, including 700 soldiers from the US Marine Corps, US Army and the British Royal Marines, which have been integrated into Norwegian units. The British and American troops took part in preparatory exercises to acclimatize them to the harsh Norwegian weather.

For the duration of the exercise, drones have been banned from local airspace.

"The Armed Forces will have a lot of activity in the air, with fighter jets, helicopters and transport aircraft. To ensure safety in the air, we therefore introduced a drone ban," military spokesman Ivar Moen told the Norwegian public radio station NRK.

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