“US soldiers in Norway is more important than before,” says Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H) who visited the US Marine Corps in Værnes on Tuesday.
The same day as Russia began the greatest military exercise since the Cold War, and on the date 17 years after the hijacked passenger airplanes hit the twin towers in New York, Solberg visited the American soldiers who are as exercising in Norway.
“It’s a special day today. The only time NATO’s Article 5 has been put into service was after September 11,” Solberg told NTB.
Norwegian membership in NATO is an important part of Norway’s security, and American soldiers in Norway are therefore of great importance in a time of increasing tension, Solberg points out.
“It is important that the Americans stand with action and show the clear commitment they have. US troops practicing in Norway are trained for Norwegian relations and they are making sure that we have advance storage in Norway, which also helps us to have credible support from NATO on that day, should we will need it,” she says.
NATO has condemned the Russians on their large scale exercise that takes place in August and September, claiming it is an exercise on a major conflict.
“It’s a very large exercise and a demonstration of its power and strength. This makes the situation more demanding,” says Solberg to NTB.
She adds that the Russians have shown that they have more mobile forces and are better equipped than they were a few years ago. Norway’s answers include bulk purchases of submarines and combat aircraft.
– “In addition, we have seen how Russia acts, especially in Ukraine, and a doctrine of Russia which states that everywhere Russians are is Russia’s responsibility. This has contributed to escalation, increased training, modernization and more advanced NATO cooperation,” said Solberg.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today