VIDEO: US Marines join largest NATO exercise since end of the Cold War

PHOTO: Military action during the NATO led military exercise in Trondheim, Norway, Tuesday Oct. 30, 2018. The NATO exercises include some 3000 troops, 20 ships, several tanks, and about 50 aircraft, from various nations are taking part in the exercise.PlayAP
WATCH US Marines join largest NATO exercise since the end of the Cold War

NATO has held its largest military exercises since the end of the Cold War.

Called Trident Juncture, the war games are being held over two weeks in Norway and involve 50,000 troops, 10,000 vehicles, 250 aircraft and 65 ships from 31 nations.

NATO officials say that the defensive exercises are not directed at any country in particular, but it is clear the intended audience is Russia. With tensions high with Moscow following its invasion of Crimea four years ago and confrontations in Syria and over Russian meddling in U.S. and European elections, the exercises are a show of force intended to demonstrate the alliance’s ability to deter Russia.

PHOTO: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visits the NATO-led military exercise Trident Juncture on Distinguished Visitors Day in Trondheim, Norway, Tuesday Oct. 30, 2018. AP
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visits the NATO-led military exercise Trident Juncture on Distinguished Visitors Day in Trondheim, Norway, Tuesday Oct. 30, 2018.
PHOTO: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Commander of NATOs Joint Force Command Naples, US Admiral James G Foggo pose for a selfie during a visit at the NATO-led military exercise Trident Juncture in Trondheim, Norway, Oct. 30, 2018. Scanpix via AFP/Getty Images
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Commander of NATO's Joint Force Command Naples, US Admiral James G Foggo pose for a selfie during a visit at the NATO-led military exercise Trident Juncture in Trondheim, Norway, Oct. 30, 2018.

Russia has responded by calling the exercises “anti-Russia.” It announced it would hold its own missile drills in international waters off Norway’s coast, close to where the exercises are being held. The country already held the biggest war games in its history back in September.

Among the troops taking part are 7,500 U.S. Marines. The Marines shipped hundreds of tons of tanks, armored vehicles and aircraft to Norway for the exercise.

PHOTO: Marines from France and the United Kingdom jump off a French Landing Craft during a Joint demonstration as part of the NATO Trident Juncture 2018 exercise, in Byneset near Trondheim, Norway, Oct. 30, 2018. Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images
Marines from France and the United Kingdom jump off a French Landing Craft during a Joint demonstration as part of the NATO Trident Juncture 2018 exercise, in Byneset near Trondheim, Norway, Oct. 30, 2018.

A rotating force of 300 Marines has been carrying out winter training in Norway since 2017 and this year the country requested that number be more than doubled to 700 in 2019.

The U.S. also maintains a small number of armored vehicles and other equipment stored in caves in Norway, which the Marines made use of during Trident Juncture.