Commentary from the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Norway to «Reuters» in connection with the prolongation of deployment of 330 soldiers of the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) at the Værnes military base near Trondheim

June 23, 2017

We have repeatedly explained our point of view on the issue of setting up a US military base in the territory of Norway. We consider that this step contradicts Norwegian policy of not deploying foreign military bases in the country in times of peace, steps out of line of the traditions of good neighborhood, makes Norway not fully predictable partner, can also escalate tension and lead to destabilization of the situation in the Northern region. We see it as an element of the US-led military preparations that have intensified against the background of the anti-Russian propagandist hysteria.

Statements that the deployment of American soldiers is rotation-based and not permanent should not mislead anyone as individual military servicemen will be rotated, while the presence itself will be permanent (this is how any permanent military base is operating). As we assumed, US contingent conducts "training" throughout the entire country, including the North. It is not excluded that it will move on to other countries in the region, inter alia non-aligned. Increasing American forces in Norway is possible as well.

Taking into account constantly aggressive rhetoric towards Russia from a number of representatives of the military and political leadership of Norway and redesigning of defense planning based upon the phantom "threats from Moscow", it is hardly possible to call such actions exclusively "defensive" and "non-directed against Russia." Sending Norwegian soldiers to Lithuania to our borders, development of plans by Norway to join the NATO missile defense system and non-existence of full-fledged dialogue between our military makes us taking adequate measures to guarantee the protection of our country.

We encourage to think about the absurdity of necessity for increasing military spendings that is constantly being pedaled by politicians and experts covered with lie about «occupation» of Crimea and «destruction of postwar world order» made by Russia. Already now, military budgets of European NATO member countries are three times more than Russian military assignments. «Peacekeeper country» Norway, where one bestows the Nobel Peace Prize, takes world's second place (after the USA) for military expenditure per capita. It is absolutely obvious, that there is no straight connection between the money amount provided for defense purposes and quality of security - it is a question of efficiency management and skill to maintain real good neighbor relations. State security can't be improved by buying American (or other) weapons and targeting them against Russia.

Almost three decades Europe has developed also due to saving on military expenses, that became possible thanks to Russia's contribution in dismantlement of material legacy of blocks confrontation era. Preserving military spending on the same old level, Europeans would have paid today 2,7 trillion dollars more for these needs. Even now our countries are facing completely different, real-life tasks of economic and social development. For this reason Russia is planning to reduce its military spending by 2,7-2,8% of the GDP during the next three years.

The long-term line towards increase of military budgets reproduces the ideology and politics of the Cold War. To constantly provide fertile ground for them one will need to artificially foster the myth about «the threat from the East». This will not only deeply poison the European political context, but also create serious obstacles to joining efforts in combating real common threats, first of all international terrorism.

We believe that security in Europe should be equal and undivided. It can be built only on the basis of safeguarding genuine national interests (not the ones of the «outsider»), mutual respect and cooperation. The sooner it is realized in Oslo and some other European capitals, the better.