Amid mounting tensions between Russia and the West and as the Kremlin has lately placed strategic emphasis on its military readiness in the far north Arctic Circle, AFP reports that "The United States is deploying long-range B-1 bombers to Norway to train in the strategically important High North in a new show of force unseen in the region since the Cold War."
As we described last week ahead of the deployment, the US Air Force announced that for the first time ever it will send multiple B-1 Lancer bombers along with 200 airmen to Norway, which comes amid greater NATO calls to "confront Russia".
Cold War vibes.— AFP News Agency (@AFP) February 10, 2021
The US deploys long-range B-1 bombers to Norway to train in the strategically important High North in a new show of force unseen in the region since the Cold Warhttps://t.co/bWh35OxKA1 pic.twitter.com/4moPgA83qy
"This deployment comes in the context of global military activities in the High North, which have increased significantly in recent years, both from the West and Russia," AFP cites Norwegian defense analyst Kristian Atland as saying.
The analyst added, "The fact that these are strategic bombers naturally causes concern in Russia."
The US and Norwegian air forces have conducted long-range northern air patrols before, but this marks the first time American bombers will fly out of Norway, something sure to gain Moscow's attention.
It's since been revealed that this will include four B-1 bombers deployed from Texas to Norway's Orland Air Base.
The move comes following the US Air Force and Navy recently publishing new Arctic defense strategies, in July and January respectively, also amid increased Pentagon cooperation with Norway, among the founding member countries of NATO.
The AFP writes further in its latest report that Russia is "fuming", citing a Russian ambassador to say—
"Nobody in the Arctic is preparing for an armed conflict. However, there are signs of mounting tension and military escalation," Russia's ambassador to the Arctic Council, Nikolai Korchunov, said.
The current militarization in the region "could turn us back decades to the days of the Cold War," he told Russia's RIA news agency in early February.
Earlier this month US European Command (EUCOM) made the announcement, but didn't indicate how long the troops and B-1 bombers will be deployed out of Norway, only saying "scheduled missions" will occur for "a limited time".
Previously US Marines have deployed and trained in Norway on semi-regular rotations, but this latest deployment constitutes the most American military hardware based there in recent memory.
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Video of the B-1 Lancer in action: