Last Thursday, Oslo announced that it will be requesting an additional 700 U.S. Marines to train in the Scandinavian country near the Russian boarder.
“This makes Norway less predictable and could cause growing tensions, triggering an arms race and destabilizing the situation in northern Europe. We see it as clearly unfriendly, and it will not remain free of consequence,” the Russian Embassy said.
Norwegian officials are concerned that Russia may attempt to take over some of their land after the successful Crimea annexation in 2014. Norway doesn’t consider Russia to be a direct threat but still wants to be prepared for a potential conflict.
Originally, the Marines that were stationed in Norway were scheduled to leave at the end of 2018 after arriving in January 2017 to train in the cold winter environment.
The deployment of the Marines to Norway marks the first time that U.S. troops have been stationed in the country since World War II.
While the recent deployment of American troops to Norway is significant, the country’s foreign minister, Ine Eriksen Soereide, pointed out that a permanent American military base will not be established.
“There are no American bases on Norwegian soil,” Soereide said.
In retaliation to the proposed deployment of Marines, Russia launched a naval exercise in the Arctic Barents Sea, which is near the northern part of Norway.
Moscow is also strengthening its international alliance with China.
In early June, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization held its annual meeting, with Russia and China being the dominant participants.
At the meeting, the two countries discussed a variety of potential projects that they could collaborate on, including creating a maritime route through the Arctic.
As global temperatures rise, the navigability of the Arctic is increasing.
China intends to use this to their advantage by investing in the region as part of country’s Belt & Road Initiative, which is part of China’s master plan to be a dominant global trading power.
Moscow has similar aspirations and is ambitious about fulfilling its desire to create a reliable maritime navigation route through the Arctic Ocean.
Officials believe that having Chinese investors on board will help expedite the project.
Other joint infrastructure investments were also discussed at the meeting, including roads, railways, sea ports and the implementation of modern telecommunication technology.