Britain wishes to step up its military presence in the High North as a warning against Russia ” said Defence Minister, Gavin Williamson.
Williamson told The Sunday Telegraph that the British government is now setting a new defence strategy for the Arctic, which means that 800 soldiers will be deployed in
Norway from next winter and over the next ten years, and that a separate base will be established in Northern Norway.
The new strategy is partly due to the diminishing of ice around the North Pole, which may mean increased Russian activity there according to the British Defence Minister.
Norwegian Defence Minister, Frank Bakke-Jensen of Høyre (H) rejected the suggestion that it is a matter of establishing a separate base in Northern Norway for the British. According to the minister, this is a follow-up to the current long-term plan where practice and training with allies are moved from Åsegarden camp and co-located with Norwegian battalions to Indre Troms.
“For many years, we have had a significant number of British soldiers running winter training in Norway, and the number has varied between around 600 to 1,100. 2018 has been a year of abnormally low numbers ,and the British now want to adjust the number of soldiers receiving training during winter conditions in Norway. Increased practice and training in Norway with close allies, including the British, is in line with the ambitions of the current long-term plan” said Bakke-Jensen to NTB news.
3,000 British soldiers will participate in the major international exercise, Trident Juncture, starting on the 25th of October.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today