OSLO, January 31. /TASS/. Chief of Defense of the Norwegian Armed Forces, Admiral Haakon Bruun-Hanssen believes it is necessary to conduct direct dialogue with Moscow and to scale down the tensions that have been building up in relations between the U.S. and NATO, on the one hand, and Russia, on the other hand.
He said it in an interview with Norsk Telegrambyra (NTB) news agency on Monday night before making an annual speech to members of a military society in Oslo.
"It’s important for Norway, the U.S. and NATO to combine measures of containment with dialogue in relations with Russia," Bruun-Hanssen said when a reporter asked him what he thought about the prospects for Russian-U.S. relations after the first telephone conversation between President Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.
"This (combination of containment and dialogue) is necessary for scaling down the tensions that have arisen in the sphere of security," he said.
Along with it, Bruun-Hanssen said in his speech Russia’s political and military strengthening had put up new challenges for Norway and other members of the North-Atlantic pact. He pointed out in this context to the growing significance of the Arctic area in the Russian defense planning and singled out the potential of the Russian submarine force.
The admiral said Norway should take appropriate steps and is already taking them in order to rebuff the hypothetical new threats. Also, it will expand its capability for gathering and analyzing information on the situation in Arctic seas.
Like never before, NATO member-states must keep up solidarity and unity in the wake of attempts to set them one against another and to destabilize the alliance from within so that it would implode.
Simultaneously, Bruun-Hanssen said the Norwegian military did not have any claims against their Russian counterparts in 2016, as the Russian demonstrated a professional approach to their activities.
In the meantime, the Russian embassy in Oslo pointed out earlier this month an increase of defense spending in Norway and other NATO member-nations, a considerable buildup of the espionage potential of the Norwegian Armed Services, the Norwegian government’s plans as regards the stationing of U.S. marine units on a base in Vaerness, and involvement in the efforts to build a European antimissile system.
"On the whole, NATO’s military buildup in the territories adjoining Russia, including Norway which Russia has never made any threats to, indefinite deployment of U.S. heavy armaments in a number of East-European and Baltic countries and the placement of U.S. armed units on the basis of rotation there provoke tensions and lead up to a breakdown of the current balance of forces in Europe," the embassy said in a statement.