Berg seeks pardon as spy swap looms

Frode Berg, the former Norwegian border inspector convicted of espionage in Russia, has formally applied for a pardon. The move is believed to be part of a complicated deal to swap Berg and two convicted Lithuanian spies jailed in Russia for at least one Russian spy jailed in Lithuania. Berg’s Russian defense attorney Ilja Novikov […]

Norway drops missile defense program

Just weeks before meeting Russian officials in the northern city of Kirkenes, to celebrate how the former Soviet Union liberated Finnmark from Nazi German occupation n 1944, Norwegian government officials have made a concession to their neighbours. They won’t be going along with the US- and NATO-backed missile defense program after all. Norway was under […]

Defense chief calls for major build-up

Norwegian defense chief Haakon Bruun-Hanssen is asking for, and may well receive, an extra NOK 25 billion (USD 3 billion) over the next eight years to build up the country’s defense. He and other military experts believe Russia would want to blockade Norway in the event of a conflict, meaning Norway must be able to […]

Norway working to bring spy home

Norway’s foreign ministry is reportedly spending millions trying to get convicted spy Frode Berg freed from prison in Moscow. The goal, reports state broadcaster NRK, is to get Berg home to Kirkenes in Northern Norway before ceremonies are held later this fall to mark the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s liberation of Finnmark in […]

Russia won’t let Hurtigruten sail

Russian authorities have spoiled some exclusive Arctic cruise plans for passengers on board one of the Norwegian shipping line Hurtigruten‘s newest vessels, the MS Spitsbergen. After initially seeming to welcome more cruise traffic in Russian waters, the Russians have suddenly denied the vessel entry. “We’d had a good dialogue with Russian authorities for a long […]

Russian exercises illustrate tension

Norwegian and NATO forces claim to be keeping a close eye this week on Russian military forces, which launched some of their largest military exercises yet on Wednesday. The exercises, taking place in four locations off Norway’s northwest coast, are widely viewed as a direct response to all the recent NATO, Norwegian and US military exercises […]

Russia posts missiles near the border

Russian officials have disclosed that they’ve moved a coastal missile system to a new location on Russia’s Sredny Peninsula in the far north. The new location is so close to Norway that it can be seen on clear days from Vardø, the northeastern Norwegian town that’s also home to a controversial radar and surveillance system […]

Norway braced for Russian exercises

The Russian Navy is expected to launch “unusually high activity” off the coast of Northern Norway next week, after announcing more military training exercises in the Norwegian Sea. Three US surveillance aircraft have joined Norway in efforts to keep an eye on the Russians. “A large number of naval vessels are on their way from […]

White whale ‘can do as he likes’

Norwegian fisheries officials have decided to let a tame white whale,  which recently sought contact with local fishing boats, just swim and frolic in the waters off Norway’s northern city of Hammerfest. They want to wait and see whether the now internationally famous beluga whale can manage on his own. “What’s happening now is basically […]

Norwegian defense ‘has been weakened’

Only their smiles were perhaps surprising when Norway’s defense chief, Admiral Haakon Bruun-Hanssen, presented his annual report to Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen this week. It came as no surprise when the former submarine commander had to admit that Norway’s defense was weakened by last autumn’s frigate collision, just as Russian sabre-rattling has worsened security. “The […]