Norway Expands Military Drills In North, Increases Emergency Preparedness, Citing Ukraine War

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Apr 29, 2022 - 09:45 AM

The commander of the Norwegian armed forces has announced his country will step up military exercises in the far north in response to Russia's ongoing attack of Ukraine.

Major General Lars Lervik told national broadcaster NRK that "Based on what has happened in Ukraine, we have reported a need to increase activity here at home. In addition, we have reported a need to strengthen preparedness and make that work a little faster than originally planned."

Source: The Independent Barents Observer

The boosted military presence and drills will center on northern Norway in the area of Finnmark County, according to national media, and the Kirkenes area bordering Russia's Murmansk Oblast.

The northernmost NATO country of Norway, while having both Sweden and Finland as the Nordic non-NATO buffer states between it and Russia, does share a sliver of a far northern border with Russia. The Norway-Russia land border is a mere 121 miles of harsh arctic terrain.

Gen. Lervik described that in addition to general military preparedness drills, the army is seeking to boost its emergency supplies as well as ammunition. 

"This is what we are trying to do a little faster than planned, to have a better preparedness," Lervik said. The NRK reads: "In addition to increased exercise activity, the Armed Forces is working to build up its emergency stocks. This means all they need of food and fuel, but also spare parts and ammunition."

Additionally the country's defense minister has said the ramped up drills on Norwegian soil in the north are not expected to provoke the Russian side:

Minister of Defense Bjørn Arild Gram (Sp) believes it is natural to be more active in the north. He has no particular expectations of reactions to this from the Russian side. 

He said, "We now have a war in Europe for which Russia is responsible. It is very serious and it changes the security policy situation, but Russia must take responsibility and ensure that it is now stopped and stopped."

Minister of Defense inspecting a Garrison in Sør-Varanger. Source: Norway's NRK

Scandinavian countries have of late expressed growing alarm over a future clash with an 'aggressive' Russia - as their officials have been saying - rhetoric which has been on display as Sweden and Finland have been strongly signaling steps toward NATO membership. This likely looms large in Norway's decision for a force build-up in the north, where it sits closest with Russia.

Sweden and Finland - the latter which shares an over 800-mile border with Russia - have indicated a common decision will be made likely in mid-May. Russia has in turn issued dire warnings over such a move, saying it would lead to nuclear arms being stationed in the Baltic region.