MOSCOW, October 28. /TASS/. Norway’s decision to accommodate 330 US marines on its soil does not contribute to keeping stability in north Europe, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.
This decision contradicts the Norwegian policy of refraining from hosting foreign military bases in the country in peacetime.
"The fact that the talk at the current stage is only about 330 US marines who are being accommodated in the country’s region remote from Russia does not calm very much. The American contingent, according to information of the Norwegian Defense Ministry, will be able to hold training sessions across the country’s entire territory, including, as it should be believed, the north. As for the accommodation on a rotating rather than a permanent basis, this aspect should not delude either: specific servicemen will replace each other but their presence will be uninterrupted," the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.
"This decision by the Norwegian government is a new link in the chain of military preparations under the US guidance, which have noticeably intensified lately amid anti-Russian hysteria," the diplomat said.
"This step clearly does not contribute to keeping stability and security in the North of Europe," she added.
The Norwegian government gave its consent on Monday to host a group of 330 US marines in the Vaernes garrison near Trondheim. They will start undergoing training there from January 2017 as part of a pilot Norwegian-US project for strengthening cooperation in the sphere of security. The relevant initiative came from the United States.
When joining NATO in 1949, Norway undertook on the insistence of the Soviet Union to refrain from creating bases for foreign contingents on its territory, unless the Nordic country was attacked or there was a real threat of such an attack.
As numerous experts and newspaper observers stress, the deployment of a large foreign contingent in the country can be interpreted as the creation of such a base and will be a serious deviation from the Norwegian defense doctrine of the past decades.