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Moscow to respond to NATO’s increased presence in Norway

The foreign ministry spokesman said that the Arctic and northern Europe must remain a zone of low tension

MOSCOW, October 2. /TASS/. Russia will respond to NATO’s increased military presence in northern Norway, namely, the NATO military drills in the region, in order to ensure its security, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told TASS on Tuesday.

"The escalation of NATO’s military and political activity in the Arctic region, namely, in the immediate vicinity of Russia on the territory of northern Norway, hasn’t gone unnoticed," Zakharova said. "In violation of all time-tested traditions of good neighborliness and against the policy of the Norwegian government established way back in the Cold War period on self-restraint, [which says] "not to provide bases on Norwegian territory for armed forces of foreign powers unless Norway is under attack or under threat of attack", Oslo set the course for unprecedented militarization of its northern latitudes."

"In a series of recent unfriendly steps taken by Norway there is the agreement to double the existent contingency of US Marine Corps from 330 to 770 people, to extend their rotating, that is, virtually permanent, presence by five years, to expand their placement in the north. [They also agreed] to hold the most large-scale military drills in the history of Russia near the Russian border at the end of October - NATO Trident Juncture 2018, with the participation of more than 40 thousand people from over 30 countries," she noted.

"We have to state that such irresponsible actions will inevitably destabilize the military and political situation in the north, increase tensions and undermine the fabric of Russian-Norwegian relations," Zakharova said. "All these NATO preparations cannot be ignored, and the Russian Federation will take the necessary tit-for-tat measures to ensure its own security."

Moscow is confident that the Arctic and northern Europe "must remain a low-tension zone." "Reckless saber-rattling in this previously calm region can have far-reaching consequences, and not through any fault of ours," Zakharova concluded.