by Staff Writers
Oslo (AFP) Oct 24, 2016
The United States will deploy over 300 troops in Norway, the Norwegian government announced Monday, in a move set to upset neighbouring Russia.
The 330 Marines, to be stationed on rotation around 1.000 kilometres (600 miles) from the Russian border, will be engaged in training and manoeuvres in almost Arctic conditions, the Norwegian defence ministry said.
The announcement comes against a backdrop of increasing tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine and the conflict in Syria, although Norway itself enjoys good relations with its giant neighbour.
The US already has vast amounts of military equipment positioned in NATO ally Norway -- notably in tunnels dug into mountains -- but no troops.
"This US-initiative is welcome and also fits well within ongoing processes in NATO to increase exercises, training and interoperability within the Alliance," Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said in the statement.
"The defence of Norway is dependent on allied reinforcements, and it is crucial for Norwegian security that our allies come here to gain knowledge of how to operate in Norway and with Norwegian forces," she added.
Before joining NATO in 1949, Norway allayed Russian fears by pledging not to open its territory to foreign combat troops so long as Norway was not attacked or threatened with attack.
This pledge was later amended to allow foreign troops to conduct manoeuvres in Norway.
The deployment, which will begin in January, is a US initiative which Oslo is presenting as a trial to be evaluated during 2017.
Last week the Russian embassy in Oslo expressed surprise as the idea of stationing US troops in Norway was mooted.
"Taking into account multiple statements made by Norwegian officials about the absence of threat from Russia to Norway, we would like to understand why Norway is so much willing to increase its military potential, in particular through the stationing of American forces in Vaernes," embassy spokesman Maxime Gourov said in an email sent to AFP on Friday.
Former senior Norwegian army officer Jacob Borresen said the planned deployment "sends negative signals eastwards".
The big risk, he told broadcaster NRK, is that the move creates a Cold War-style "confrontation zone".
In July, NATO announced it would deploy, also on a rotational basis, four multinational battalions to Poland and to Baltic states to deter any Russian incursion.
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|