Russia will not ignore the escalation of NATO’s military-political activity in the Arctic region, in particular, close to the Russian borders in northern Norway, stated the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Maria Zakharova.
She complained that Oslo has embarked on an unprecedented militarization of northern regions “violating all the time-tested traditions of good-neighborliness and contrary to the Norwegian leadership policy of self-restraint since the “Cold War” times “not to provide bases on the Norwegian territory for the armed forces of foreign powers until Norway was attacked or threatened with an attack”.
Among Norway’s unfriendly steps towards Russia, Zakharova named: “the agreement to double the country’s already deployed American marines number from 330 to 700 people; the extension of their rotational, and in fact constant presence, for five years; their geographical expansion to the north; and carrying out the largest NATO military exercise throughout the history of Norway Trident Juncture 2018 at the end of October, close to the borders with Russia. These military exercises involved more than 40,000 people from more than 30 countries.
”According to the Foreign Ministry’s representative, "another negative addition is the plan for the deployment of 800 British troops to northern Norway". The Russian Foreign Ministry believes that such “irresponsible actions” will destabilize the military-political situation in the North, increase tensions, and undermine the foundations of Russian-Norwegian relations.
“Russian Federation cannot ignore all these NATO preparations and will take all the necessary response actions to ensure its own security,” she concluded.
Meanwhile, the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Russian observers were invited to participate in military training sessions of the North Atlantic Alliance Trident Juncture in Norway.