Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg announced that Norway will contribute to NATO’s international network of radar stations and anti-ballistic missile barrages after yesterday’s meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Oslo.
“It is necessary for us to participate in this. As a committed NATO member, we should also be committed to that part of the strategy,” Solberg told Norway’s NTB news service. “We have to go through this and look at what our contribution and participation should be related to this.”
During his three-day visit to Norway, Secretary General Stoltenberg said, “There are many ways to contribute to such a missile defense system,” adding “I have discussed the possibilities for Norwegian contributions with the Norwegian government during my visit.”
Stoltenberg also told the Norwegian premier, “You are part of the interim spearhead force; you are doing air policing in the Baltics; and you are investing in new capabilities that will increase your contributions to NATO.”
“Your presence in the European High North is significant to NATO.”
Stoltenberg, who is himself a former prime minister of Norway, also visited the Bodo Airbase in northern Norway where he observed a practice scramble by F-16 fighter jets and was briefed on the Royal Norwegian Air Force’s capabilities.
NATO has been increasing its presence in Europe after Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014, as well as its alleged involvement in the fighting in eastern Ukraine between Kiev troops and pro-Russian separatist rebels.
NATO’s development of international network system of radar stations and anti-ballistic missiles barrages angered Russian ambassador to Copenhagen Mikhail Vanin, who in March threatened Denmark saying Danish ships would become targets for nuclear strikes by Russia if they joined the system, in an article published by the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.
“I don’t think that Danes are fully aware of the consequences if Denmark joins the US-led missile defense shield,” adding “Denmark will be part of the threat to Russia. If it happens, then Danish warships will be targets for Russia’s nuclear weapons,” Vanin said in the article.
NATO’s sea exercises close to Russia’s territory have also troubled Russia, as Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov previously said, "The drills will be conducted in the northeastern part of the Atlantic, and this can signal only that there are plans to practice intercepting Russian ballistic missiles. Such drills cannot but concern us."
Russia also interprets NATO’s attempts to disempower the Russian Federation as aggressive and expansionist.