Reply by Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department Alexey Zaytsev to the question of the newspaper Kommersant
Question: Could you comment on statements on the reduction of the US military presence in Norway?
Alexey Zaytsev: Despite statements, made in July this year, on the reduction of permanently stationed US Marines in Norway, there is no talk about a real decrease in US military activities. We do not rule out that their new “dynamic” presence really conceals the intention to substantially increase the number of US contingent. Under the pretext of joint exercises with the Norwegian Armed Forces, the Americans, on the contrary, can considerably strengthen positions in northern Norway.
There are reasons for such assumptions. In the past few years, we have seen Norway’s consistent war preparations. They are particularly active in the areas adjacent to the Russia-Norway border. Despite voluntary commitments under “the basic policy,” foreign military troops have been stationed in Norway on a permanent basis and their number has been steadily built up. Disclaimers about the rotation-based stay of these units are not convincing. The number of exercises that include foreign contingents is increasing, and Russia is featuring as a potential enemy in them. Plans for developing national armed forces, arms purchases and upgrading the military infrastructure are openly anti-Russian in nature. We believe such actions by Oslo are destabilising the situation in the region.
We hope Oslo will pursue a responsible and forward-looking policy in the North and refrain from actions that undermine regional stability and damage bilateral relations by actually cutting the foreign military presence on its territory.