August 8, 2022

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There should be permanent operating forces in the North - VG

There should be permanent operating forces in the North – VG

BARDUFOSS (VG) is sending more ships, helicopters and soldiers to the High North with the UK’s new Arctic investment. It could test Norway’s Russia’s strategy.

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– Our ambitions are big. British Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace says we will be ready to respond if invited, and that it is in our interest to continue investing in what we consider to be our “home beat”.

On Tuesday, he and Norwegian Defense Minister Odd Roger Enoxsen (SP) landed with a pair of British reporters at a military airport in Bardofos.

After touring the site and chatting with soldiers who had participated in the NATO training in Norway, he presented the British new plans for the Upper North.

According to the British Secretary of Defense, the new large investment will include:

  • A Maritime Warfare Group – the Literal Response Team (LRG) – will be “permanently active” in the North. The group includes waterfall warships and several helicopters.
  • P8 surveillance aircraft Should also Keep track of the region.
  • More activity and training with countries like Norway – depending on how much Norway wants it – through groups such as the British-led Joint Venture Force (JEF).

– In practice, the LRG will be permanently active in the Nordic region of the world. It doesn’t always have to be with Norway, it could be training with Swedes, Finns or others, Wallace says.

Cooperation: Norwegian and British soldiers meet with Defense Ministers in Bardufoss.

– Need more time

When NATO leader Jens Stoltenberg visited the same site just before the weekend Warned More NATO activity in the north.

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There is something that Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (Labor) wants. But when he visited training this weekend, He insisted It is important for Norway to accept a key responsibility. This is to maintain a balance between restraining and reassuring Russia, which is central to Norway’s security policy.

Wallace tells VG that the British strategy is both about increasing exercise activity and staying longer in the High North.

– We will certainly build a well-established relationship with Norway for over 50 years, but we want more time in the region, so he says we can do things with other countries as well.

– Do you like to travel north alone, or do you always accept Norwegian entourage?

– Allies by designing our forces. They can always work with our partners and we will always value their regional integrity. Norway and the United Kingdom work together on a daily basis in the maritime sector – not only through NATO, but also bilaterally, he says.

Provoked the Russians

Problems have arisen here before: when the British trained with the Americans north of Kola in May 2020, it was without Norwegian support.
Or participation. Four months later, they practiced again in the same place Came with a Norwegian warship.

This is the first time in many years that Norway has entered Russia’s economic zone without a call from the Russian navy. Didn’t take it pretty well.

– First, it is international water. But secondly: we will always discuss this with the Norwegians. “We’re going here, you want to join,” they might say, or vice versa. I think our relationship is based on cooperation, Wallace says about it, but adds:

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– Not all JEF countries come when we do something, you choose what is right for you to participate. Of course, we always value Norway’s views on issues, but basically we are all NATO.

Key ally

Norwegian Defense Minister Odd Roger Enoxsen describes Britain as Norway’s most important ally in Europe.

He emphasizes that the British signal that they want more in the north is important for Norway, and that the Norwegian security concept is structured by gaining the support of allies.

But he did not hide the fact that it could pose challenges:

– It will be. Much of the interest in the North is positive, but there are also challenges, and it is clear, he tells Vijay, in more detail:

– Our way of working with Russia will contribute to relaxation, and this is an important security concept. It is therefore important to have better joint training and better coordination with both the United States and the United Kingdom in the North to reduce tensions.

Arriving: Enochsen and Wallace greet Norwegian and British soldiers

– Because there were some difficult situations like this before 2020?

– Yes, that’s right. We discuss with both Ben Wallace and my American colleague the things I raised and understood. We are working to achieve better integration and coordination in the North.

When other countries operate in Norwegian territory, it is subject to Norwegian regulations. But Norway cannot be asked to participate in international maritime activities.

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– We have no control over what the United Kingdom and other allies do in the international arena. Under their auspices a significant sailing and action takes place in the north. We recommend integrating this better, says Enoxsen.

Beyond the value of coaching together, Enxen suggests that this is one of the reasons why Norway is working to make it easier for friendly nations such as the United Kingdom to come here more often. Says it can contribute to better integration.

Waiting for the boss: British soldiers waiting for Ben Wallace to land in Burdofos.