The Russian embassy in Oslo said: “Taking into account multiple statements of Norwegian officials about the absence of threat from Russia to Norway we would like to understand for what purposes is Norway so much willing to increase its military potential, in particular through stationing of American forces in Vaernes?”
The Norwegian government announced in a news release Monday that it had approved a “limited rotational force presence” of about 330 Marines, to be based in Vaernes, near where the Marine Corps has thousands of vehicles and other key pieces of gear stored year-round in climate-controlled caves.
USA and Norwegian officials celebrated the move, which they say will “have positive implications”, according to CNN.
The plan could see around 300 American special forces deployed at the Vaernes base near Trondheim, which lies around 600 miles from the frontier with Russian Federation.
“The United States are our most important ally and we have a near bilateral relationship that we wish to develop”, Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said in a statement. “The defense of Norway is dependent on allied reinforcement and it is crucial for Norwegian security that our allies get the knowledge required to operate in Norway, together with Norwegian forces”.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation announced in July the deployment of four multinational battalions to Poland and the Baltic states to prevent what it called “Russian incursion”.
Norway’s government argues that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops are already training regularly in the country and that the deployment of troops does not equate to the opening of a permanent American base. A report called “The Coming Storm” claims that “the scenario included the speedy seizure of northern Norway, the Åland islands., the Swedish island of Gotland and the Danish island of Bornholm”. Norway has been a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member since 1949, but under a deal with Russian Federation it had prevously said it would not allow foreign troops on its land. “As the USA designs its national contributions across Europe, we want to have a very balanced approach”, Douglas Lute told a news conference.
“This US initiative is welcome and also fits well within ongoing processes in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to increase exercises, training and interoperability within the Alliance”, she said.
The air-conditioned bunkers span much of central Norway and were used in the 1980s to store U.S. equipment during the Cold War.
The country’s Ministry of Defense announced Tuesday that the USA troops were “highly welcome” in Norway, one of the few North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members to share a border with Russian Federation.