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‘Troops are quickly pulling together’: what is happening in Norway?

This post was published in RIA Novosti. The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.

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MOSCOW, (BM) – Nuclear submarines, powerful radar stations, large-scale exercises and reconnaissance missions – NATO is increasingly active in northern Europe. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the alliance is purposefully pumping up Norway with a military contingent.

And as with other European countries, under the pretext of the “Russian threat”. About whether the Scandinavian kingdom will become another Poland for the alliance – in the material of RIA Novosti.

Unhealthy activity

From words about the need to strengthen the military presence in Norway, NATO is moving on to action. The exercises of the ships of the alliance with the involvement of the Norwegian fleet in the Barents and Norwegian Seas have noticeably increased.

In the region, the scale of the bloc’s reconnaissance missions is expanding – reconnaissance ships of the Norwegian Navy are operating in the Arctic near the borders of Russia, and Poseidon aircraft of the US Navy are flying from Norwegian bases to patrol. Oslo and Washington have extended the agreement on the deployment of the Marine Corps in the country, increasing its number by half.

Norway hosted the largest NATO exercise Trident Juncture in 2018. About fifty thousand servicemen practiced collective defense when attacked by a simulated enemy. The alliance deployed 65 warships at the maneuver site, including the US aircraft carrier Harry Truman, which entered the Norwegian Sea for the first time since the Cold War.

In Northern Norway, NATO is building the Globus-3 missile warning system. Construction is in full swing on Vardø Island, just a few dozen kilometers from Russia. With the help of the new radar, NATO members will be able to see the tests of Russian missile weapons, track the movement of ships of the Northern Fleet and monitor the interior regions of the “imaginary enemy.”

Also, the military airfields of Bardufoss, Evenes, Banak, Erland and Ryugge are being modernized, the Grotsund port terminal is being converted to receive American nuclear submarines.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly stated that NATO’s actions in northern Europe contribute to the militarization of the Arctic. The reconnaissance flights of the alliance aviation are of particular concern. It has long been common for the Department of Defense to report on American reconnaissance planes appearing at the very borders. Each time, the Aerospace Forces have to lift fighters into the air and literally drive them away from the internal airspace.

Thus, a week ago, a MiG-31 intercepted a Poseidon aircraft dangerously close to the border. And on August 4, airspace control devices spotted a Norwegian Falcon 20 electronic reconnaissance and electronic warfare aircraft over the waters of the Barents Sea. It was also deployed with the help of a VKS fighter.

NATO northern foothold

Doctor of Military Sciences Konstantin Sivkov, in an interview with RIA Novosti, noted that while Oslo is trying to distance itself from NATO activities, but this is becoming more and more difficult.

“In the event of a change in the country’s leadership, anything can happen, including the appearance of American military bases,” the expert says. “Norway has already deployed an American military contingent for exercises, accepts US submarines at its bases. The course towards militarization is obvious. the situation is unknown. But it is clear that as the military and political tensions increase, Oslo will yield to pressure from Washington, including because against the background of the expected tough battle for the Arctic, the Norwegians are very much counting on the Americans.”

The artificial aggravation of the situation and the search for an external enemy is evidenced by the statements of the head of the foreign intelligence service of Norway, Morten Haga Lunde, who considers Russia and China the main threat to the kingdom. The new Russian long-range missiles are of particular concern.

The Norwegian referred to the strengthening of military bases on the Kola Peninsula and in the northern part of the Barents Sea, exercises of the Northern Fleet, and advanced weapons systems. In his opinion, the threat also comes from the Sarmat intercontinental missile system, the hypersonic Avangard and Dagger.

The population is being frightened by the “Russian threat”, including from TV screens, said Artem Kureev, a military expert at the Valdai analytical club.

“The Norwegian political establishment tends to see Russia as a dangerous neighbor, in fact a potential enemy,” he said. “Two seasons of the local TV series Occupation, about the seizure of the country with the tacit support of the EU by Russia, is also an indicator.”

And after the end of the Cold War, Kureev recalled, the northern monarchy pursued a fairly independent policy already in the Russian North. Thus, the Norwegian special services closely monitored the state of the Northern Fleet and even supported the separatism of the small peoples of the region, trying to play the “Pomor card” and declare a separate “Pomor sub-ethnic group” suffered from “Russian imperialism.”

Sit on two chairs

It should be noted that Norway stood at the origins of the North Atlantic Alliance and joined the bloc in 1949, but historically tried to take a rather cautious position so as not to aggravate relations with the Soviet Union once again. Thus, Oslo refused to build foreign military bases in peacetime, and also ruled out the deployment of atomic weapons and medium-range missiles in the country. Under a separate agreement, only a few hundred American Marines were stationed in Norway.

However, due to its geographical position, this Scandinavian country has always been of strategic importance for NATO. Indeed, in the immediate vicinity is the only way along which Soviet and then Russian submarines could enter the Atlantic. In addition, Norway is a key element of the NATO Air Defense Ground Environment (NADGE) air defense system. From here began a barrier of radar stations, stretching across Europe to Turkey.

“Control over Norway allowed NATO to prevent or minimize the breakthrough of Soviet nuclear submarines into the Atlantic in the event of a war,” explained Kureyev. “However, this never stopped the descendants of the Vikings from hosting the alliance’s global teachings and deploying tracking radars.”

Fjordland has long served as a safe haven for US nuclear submarines patrolling the North Atlantic, with airfields serving as the base for NATO’s AWACS “flying radars” and reconnaissance aircraft. There are air bases for receiving NATO equipment, many heavy weapons depots and ready-made infrastructure to accommodate allied forces if necessary.

“However, it’s impossible to say that Norway will become the second Poland – Oslo has its own defensive doctrine,” the expert emphasizes.

And yet the majority of analysts interviewed by RIA Novosti are confident that in the coming years, Americans will often visit northern Scandinavia. And by no means for peaceful purposes.

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