Russia plans new exercises in Arctic

Just weeks after NATO conducted military exercises in the Barents Sea, and now has forced Norway’s northern city of Tromsø to receive nuclear-powered submarines, Russia is responding with major exercises of its own. Russian officials are calling the NATO exercises off Norway a “provocation,” while the Norwegians say they haven’t been officially informed about them. […]

Russian diplomats tied to spy agency

Three diplomats at the Russian Embassy in Oslo were identified by newspaper Aftenposten on Wednesday as having ties to Russia’s military intelligence agency known as GRU. It’s been accused of murder and poisonings in addition to spying, while Norway’s own police intelligence agency PST claims the “real number” of intelligence agents operating in Norway “is much […]

US and Britain flex muscle in the Arctic

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 […]

NATO chief also working from home

NATO’s secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has first-hand experience in dealing with a crisis that forced him out of his office. Now he’s been working from home again along with millions of others all over the world, tackling an attack not from a terrorist this time but from a virus. “My life is affected like everyone […]

Søreide soon to meet Lavrov after all

Norway’s foreign minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide, will be heading for Moscow to meet with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, probably in June. Søreide reportedly has said she looks forward to visit Moscow, where the two will have plenty to discuss after months of rising tensions. Søreide made it clear last month that Norway wouldn’t agree to […]

Russia turns up the heat on Svalbard

Norway is resisting being drawn into a power struggle that’s heating up over important areas of the chilly Arctic. Russia, China and the US are all vying for more control in the region where Norway plays a major role through the Svalbard Treaty, which Russia accused Norway on Friday of violating. It’s the latest offense […]

Court acquits spy agencies

The Oslo County Court  has acquitted the state on charges that allegedly clumsy recruiting efforts by military and domestic intelligence agencies spoiled a Norwegian company’s efforts to do business in Russia.  The company, Ølen Betong, claimed compensation of around NOK 140 million after its owner and a key employee were arrested and harassed by Russian […]

‘Russia and China threaten defense’

Norway’s recently embattled military intelligence agency is pointing once again to Russia and China as posing the biggest defense threats. Both continue to move in a more authoritative direction, according to the agency whose chief, Morten Haga Lunde, is especially worried about Russia’s new long-distance missiles. “The factors that, to the greatest degree, influence the […]

Svalbard worth more than ever

Nearly a million Norwegians have been sitting through hours of more “slow TV” this week on a daily basis, apparently mesmerized by the beauty and history of Svalbard. Sunday marks 100 years since a post-World War I treaty gave Norway sovereignty over the wild and scenic archipelago, where new underwater discoveries may make the area […]

Spying agencies under more fire

Norway’s two intelligence-gathering agencies are back on the defense this week, this time in the Oslo County Court. Less than a month after the state paid out millions in compensation to a retired border inspector who got caught in a Russian spy trap, it’s now defending itself against more charges of allegedly clumsy recruiting that […]