Norway wants more US Marines and to station them closer to Russia, and Moscow is vowing to retaliate

US Marines Norway

US Marines have been deployed to Norway since early 2017 on a rotational basis.
Oslo says it wants the US to extend that deployment, adding more Marines and moving them closer to its border with Russia.
Moscow, which was never happy with the deployment, has vowed to respond.

Norway plans to ask the US to increase the number of Marines stationed in the country and to base them closer to Norway’s border with Russia, continuing a deployment that has irked Russia.

Moscow has vowed there will be consequences for the move.

Marines have been posted in Norway on a rotational basis since the beginning of 2017, carrying out cold-weather training and exercising with Norwegian and partner forces. The roughly 330 Marines there now are scheduled to leave at the end of the year.

Norway will ask the US to send 700 Marines in 2019 and to base them close to the Russian border in Norway’s Inner Troms region in the Arctic, rather than the location in central Norway where Marines have been stationed. Oslo also wants the next rotation of forces to last five years rather than the six-month period that started in 2017 and was extended in the middle of that year.

Before becoming a founding of member of NATO in 1949, Norway agreed not to allow foreign troops to be posted there in order to assuage Soviet concerns. The Marines who arrived in early 2017 were the first foreign force stationed on Norwegian soil since World War II.

Norway’s foreign minister, Ine Eriksen Soereide, said the latest request had broad parliamentary support, that it would not be a permanent US presence, and that it was not targeted at Russia.

“There are no American bases on Norwegian soil,” she told reporters on June 12.

“There will still be a respectful distance with the Russian border,” she said. “We can’t see any serious reason why Russia should react, even if we expect it will again this time since it always does about the allied exercises and training.”

Norwegian Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen said the expanded military force would improve NATO forces’ training and winter-fighting abilities.

“The defense of Norway depends on the support of our NATO allies, as is the case in most other NATO countries,” Bakke-Jensen told reporters. “For this support to work in times of crises and war, we are are totally dependent on joint training and exercises in times of peace.”

When US Marines arrived in January 2017, Russia questioned the move, saying that the relationship between the two countries was “put to a test now.” Norway’s latest request prompted a more strident response.

“This makes Norway less predictable and could cause growing tensions, triggering an arms race and destabilizing the situation in northern Europe,” the Russian Embassy in Norway said on Thursday. “We see it as clearly unfriendly, and it will not remain free of consequence.”

‘We are not looking for a fight’

Norway has said it doesn’t …read more

Source:: Business Insider – Politics

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