On Monday, 350 American soldiers arrived, stationed at the Setermoen in Troms for the next five years. Researchers believe America’s presence may provoke the Russians.
In June it became known that the government had said yes to expanding the rotation system where US soldiers train in Norway. Thus, up to 700 soldiers will be stationed at Værnes in Trøndelag and Setermoen in Indre Troms.
On Monday, the 350 US Marines arrived who will be stationed at Setermoen wrote NRK news.
The Russians are troubled
Researcher Ståle Ulriksen at the Sea War School believes Russia will perceive the increased US presence negatively.
‘’I think Russia is troubled. But I do not think they feel they need to make any very big move yet. But if the US presence is further increased, and the US forces are getting more weapons, they will probably receive notice” said Ulriksen to NRK.
He is, nevertheless, aware that US soldiers increase the credibility of the Norwegian defense model.
“We have chosen a defense concept where we are totally dependent on allies.Now we show that there will be more forces ready to defend Norway” said Ulriksen.
Unclear and misunderstood security policy
When the doubling of the number of US soldiers became known this summer, Sosialistisk Venstreparti (SV) leader, Audun Lysbakken, aimed hard criticism at the government.
“The goal of Norwegian security policy should be the lowest possible tension in the north.We contribute to this through a clear Norwegian presence. However,getting more soldiers on Norwegian soil and moving them further north can contribute to the opposite affect. I think it’s unclear and misunderstood security policy’’ he told NTB news.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Høyre (H), on the other hand, emphasised the importance of having US soldiers posted in Norway when she visited the US Marines at Værnes in September.
“It is important that the Americans show, with action, the clear commitment they have. US troops practicing in Norway, who are trained for Norwegian relations and making sure that we have advance storage in Norway, also helps us to have credible support from NATO if that day we should need it ever arrives” said Solberg.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today