As tensions between the U.S. & Russia rise to their highest since the Cold War and with threats of a third World War looming, the Obama Administration is reportedly planning to deploy over 300 Marines in Norway, along the country’s Russian border. Russian officials feel that the decision could worsen the faltering relationship between the U.S. and Russia. Tensions between the two superpowers have been elevating ever since the Russian Military intervened in Syria, effectively driving U.S. forces out of the region.
This is the first time a foreign military will be operating in Norwegian soil since World War II. According to the International Business Times, the Marines will be operating out of the Vaernes military Base in central Norway, and will be involved in Arctic condition training and drills. Vaernes military Base lies only 600 miles from the Russian border, and according to the commander of U.S. Marines in Europe, Major General Niel Nelson, the presence of the Marines in the area will effectively improve “NATO’s ability to rapidly aggregate and employ forces in northern Europe.”
Norwegian Defense Minister, Ine Eriksen Soreide, released a statement welcoming the agreement between the two nations.
“This U.S. initiative is welcome and also fits well within ongoing processes in NATO to increase exercises, training and inter-operatibility within the Alliance. The defense 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.”
A spokesman for the Russian embassy in Oslo, Maxime Gourov, expressed Russia’s concern over the decision via an email sent to Agence France-Presse.
“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.”
Gourov’s statement does make sense, considering how Norway, more than any other nation in the region, is noted for maintaining a pretty good relationship with Russia. But, considering Russia’s military activity in recent months, Norway’s decision to allow US forces on its soil to boost up it defenses makes sense as well. The two countries share a 122-mile border, and in recent months Russian troops have been training in Norwegian airspace, and expanding remote roads along their border. Russia has been conducting military exercises throughout the region, including in Sweden, Denmark & Finland, further raising Norway’s concerns. And while 300 U.S. marine troops would be no match for a full blown Russian invasion, their presence would make Russia think twice about entering into conflict with Norway, as that would require direct action against U.S. forces.
Maxime Gourov further stated the following, hinting this decision could hurt Norway’s relationship with Kremlin.
“The policy of non-stationing [of foreign troops], which even withstood the test of the Cold War, has always been an advantage for Norway as a partner over other Nato countries.”
Severe tensions have been developing between the United States and Russia over the Russian military’s intervention in Syria. Putin’s officials had previously announced that they had foreseen an war with the U.S. right after the two nations break off their faltering talks over the Syrian conflict. After the talks were officially suspended earlier this month, Russia has been involved in several high-level military activities such as a massive nuclear warfare preparation drill for its citizens, moving nuclear-capable missiles near its Polish border, conducting military exercises in the Nordic region and in former Soviet Union member Estonia, etc.
NATO had announced in July that it would deploy, on a rotational basis, four multinational battalions to Poland and the Baltic states in order to challenge possible Russian incursions. With tensions between Russia and the West rising to its highest in decades, more military activities can be expected in upcoming months. World War III can’t be ruled out just yet.
[Feature Image by roibu/Shutterstock]