NATO warned about Russian missile test last week
The Secretary-General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, says the Defence Alliance was informed last week about the Russian missile test off the Møre Coast.
– Russia has a significant presence in the High North, even close to Norway. They exercise large forces, and they do so regularly. This is a reported exercise from the Russian side, and we note that they will practice, as they have done several times before, in the same area, Stoltenberg tells NTB on the flight to the Trident Juncture exercise in Norway.
He assumes that Russia will behave professionally and properly and avoid dangerous situations.
– This is something that happens on a regular basis and, as I’m sure, will be handled in a good way, Stoltenberg says.
According to the newspaper Klassekampen, the Russian exercise will take place in the Norwegian Sea just off the Møre Coast, a short distance from Kristiansund, Molde and Ålesund, and in an area with several Norwegian offshore installations. The exercise will take place from November 1st to 3rd, from 7 am to 2 pm every day.
– We are familiar with this notice. The Trident Juncture exercise will continue as planned, says Lieutenant Colonel at the Norwegian Armed Forces’ Operational Headquarters, Ivar Moen.
Avinor was informed of the exercise by Russian aviation authorities on Friday. Avinor consequently sent a so-called Notam alert to pilots.
– Notam is an information channel for pilots that allows civilian aircraft to choose to navigate outside of the exercise area. This is a routine information sharing, and there is no drama in this, Communications Manager in Avinor, Erik Lødding, informs.
Avinor does not have a record of how often Russia alerts of such activity.
– According to my knowledge, it is not often that these types of alerts are sent to Avinor Plane Security, Lødding informs the public broadcaster, NRK.
Not by chance
Senior Researcher at the Norwegian Foreign Policy Institute, June Wilhelmsen, tells NRK that she does not think it’s a coincidence that the missile test occurs just now.
– I can not know for sure. But it is very likely that this is a kind of a reaction to Trident Juncture, she says.
The Norwegian Minister of Defence, Frank Bakke-Jensen (Conservatives), points out that it is common for Russia to carry out military activities in our neighbourhood, including in conjunction with exercises where allied forces participate.
– There is nothing dramatic in this. From the Norwegian side, we take note of this and follow the Russian activity. In such situations, measures are taken to safeguard the safety and to avoid accidents as required, emerges in a statement from Bakke-Jensen to NRK.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today