US and Britain flex muscle in the Arctic

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Four US Navy ships and one from Britain have been sailing in the waters off Norway’s North Cape this week, without any vessels from their NATO ally sailing with them. Defense analysts calls it a strategic display of force, which Norway must follow closely.

The Kirkenes-based Barents Observer reported Tuesday that the American and British vessels were heading farther east into the Barents Sea on “maritime security operations.” Read the full story here (external link to the Barents Observer).

Norwegian Broadcaster (NRK) later reported that researchers link the unusual sailings, the first since the Cold War, to global political tensions. “I think the American want to show that they can also operate in the Arctic,” Svein Vigeland Rottem, a researcher at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, told NRK.

Karsten Friis, a senior researcher at the Norwegian foreign policy institute NUPI, told NRK that they may “want to mark the area as international waters and that they have a right to sail there.” staff