The Norwegian government’s decision to approve the pilot project on the deployment of the US Marine Corps servicemen in the western part of the country will not improve the security situation in northern Europe, spokesman for the Russian embassy in Oslo, Maksim Gurov, said in a statement.
“The rotational deployment of 330 servicemen of the US Marine Corps to Vaernes will by no means facilitate the improvement of security situation in northern Europe,” the diplomat stated. Earlier the Russian embassy expressed surprise at the Norwegian government’s determination to approve this step “taking into consideration the numerous statements by Norwegian officials saying Russia poses no threat to Norway.”
On Monday, Norway’s Defense Ministry announced that Oslo had agreed to accommodate a US marine unit at the Vaernes military base near Trondheim. They will start training there in January 2017 according to the pilot Norwegian-US project on enhancing cooperation in the security sphere, which was initiated by Washington.
Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said that the pilot project stipulated the rotation of the US military servicemen while no permanent US military base was going to be established in Norway. According to Soreide, “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.”
When joining NATO in 1949, at the USSR’s behest Norway made a commitment not to establish foreign military bases on its territory unless the kingdom was attacked or a real threat of such an attack emerged. Many experts and observers point out that the deployment of a big foreign military unit can be construed as a military base establishment and will be a serious deviation from the Norwegian defense doctrine of the past decades.