The country’s Defense Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide said that the alliance should pay more attention to the strategic challenges in the region ‘in case something happens’, and that the larger naval presence would allow it to better keep track of the scale of Russian activity there, according to the newspaper Aftonbladet.
Soreide also argued that such a move would serve as a reminder that NATO protects all of its member states.
Despite the fact that the possible appearance of NATO military vessels in the Barents Sea would be likely to prompt Russia to bolster its defensive capabilities in the region, the minister apparently believes that it won’t trigger a conflict.
Meanwhile, Norway’s Foreign Minister Borge Brende said that Oslo prioritizes its neighborly ties with Moscow despite geopolitical tensions.
“It is important to maintain contact in difficult times. Norway and Russia have always enjoyed neighborly relations in the north, and we continue to cooperate in various areas despite disagreements on a number of issues,” the minister said, adding that “human-to-human” contacts and so-called people’s diplomacy serve as cornerstones of Russian-Norwegian ties.