Russia critical of Norwegian military exercises

.Joint VikingFinnmark.Joint Viking is the largest military exercise held in Finnmark in 50 years.Photo : Christina Gjertsen / Forsvaret / NTB scanpix

– Provocative fighting under the pretext of a mythical threat from the East, is the description the Russian embassy gives of the military exercise now under way in Finnmark.

– We are now witnessing a strengthening of military capabilities and a buildup of NATO military presence and infrastructure to “the so-called Eastern flank” of the alliance, one which has not been seen since the end of the “Cold War”, in order to add military political pressure on our country, the press attaché Olga Kiriak said to NRK.

The Press Attache believes the NATO countries are conducting combat exercises which are clearly provocative.

– Under the pretext of a mythical “threat from the East” ,  American troops and heavy military equipment have been stationed in some European countries, and new elements of the alliance’s command and staff structure is appearing, says Kiriak.

Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide hit back at the Russian criticism.

– We practice in our country in order to defend the country.  This exercise is not directed against any country.

The Russians know this very well, and in their own and other countries exercise activities take place too, which is absolutely necessary, says Søreide.

Joint Viking is the largest military exercise held in Finnmark in 50 years. Altogether 8,000 Allied soldiers, around 700 of them Americans and Britons, are participating this year.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today