Swedish corvette HMS Visby patrols the Stockholm Archipelago October 19 2014, searching for what the military says is a foreign threat in the waters Two European countries near Russia, including one that borders Russia, are combining parts of their military forces. The Swedish government announced on October 29th that it will create a joint naval battle group with the Finnish Defense Forces. Finland borders Russia to its northeast, while Sweden has seen recent Russian military violations of its territory — most notably by a possible Russian submarine in October of 2014.

The new battle group, known as the Swedish Finnish Naval Task Force (SFNTG), is envisioned as a cost-effective way for the two nations to conduct joint crisis response operations in the Arctic and the surrounding regions. According to Defense News, the SFNTG will be staffed by troops trained to operate within the region’s climatic extremes. The task force will “conduct sea surveillance, exercises and include combined units,” Defense News reports. “It would share infrastructure and be able to transfer operational control of units between the Swedish and Finnish navies.” FULL REPORT