Russia issues new warning to Norway

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Russia’s embassy in Oslo has been issuing more complaints about the Norwegians this week. The Russian officials are unhappy about the large winter military exercises going on in Finnmark, Northern Norway, and they’re also warning again of consequences if Norway opts to become part of NATO’s controversial missile defense system.

The Russian Embassy called the military exercises involving Norwegian forces and US Marines “provocative” battle training under the guise of a mystical threat from the east. Around 8,000 troops are taking part in the “Joint Viking” exercises including the US Marines now stationed at Værnes near Trondheim.

Russian press attaché Olga Kiriak described the exercises as “absurd theater” at a time when NATO’s member countries are advocating more openness around Russian military forces. Kiriak claimed the exercises illustrated a military build-up along NATO’s eastern flank that hasn’t been seen since the Cold War.

The Russian Embassy has also sent a letter to newspaper Dagbladet, warning of the consequences if Norway opts to become part of NATO’s missile defense system. The letter came in response to the Norwegian government’s decision to establish a group of experts who will evaluate a possible Norwegian contribution to NATO’s program.

The embassy wrote that since the US, NATO and Norway “don’t want to settle this issue diplomatically and through negotiations,” Russia would have to mount a military technical response. “Russia will have to strengthen its nuclear forces, which will win over any rocket shield,” the embassy wrote.

A Norwegian foreign ministry spokesman stressed that NATO’s missile defense is directed at threats from outside the European-Atlantic area and not at Russia. He claimed NATO had also invited Russia to cooperate on a missile defense system, but that was turned down.

newsinenglish.no staff