Norway buffer state between EU and Russia has geopolitical hazards but it’s arctic environment has its advantages. US continuous political deliberation with Norway to its presence is perpetual tale to counter Russian expansion.
Recent espinionage case PST action in this regards, Norway’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday expelled a Russian diplomat linked to a case in which an employee of DNV GL was taken into custody by PST, the Norwegian security agency, on August 15 and charged with handing over information to a foreign state that could harm basic national interests. He was dining with a Russian when the PST swooped.
Constant flights by spy planes is just one of the signs of the al liance’s growing presence near Russia’s borders a process that has intensified since relations between the country and the West started to deteriorate in 2014.
Norway being a member of the NATO alliance since its inception, Norway has long remained cautious about letting in a massive NATO contingent. This approach, originally designed to avoid an escalation of tensions with the Soviet Union, was seemingly abandoned several years ago as the country has been agreeing to more NATO troop deployments, as well as creating a foothold for other NATO projects and activities united by a single goal – to counter alleged “Russian aggression”.
Among these activities is the construction of the Globus III radar, which was largely sponsored by the US military and will work in conjunction with Globus II – another radar created to “collect intelligence data against ballistic missiles”. While never officially being recognised as targeted at Russia, both radars were built rather close to the country’s borders and hence will be able to serve not only as an early warning system, but also to monitor Moscow’s tests of new missiles.
Oslo and Washington signed an agreement in 2018 doubling rotational US troop deployments and scaled it back down only in August 2020, when the White House shifted its posture regarding European deployments. Apart from the boost in the contingent, the US might be seeking an increase in its nuclear submarine fleet stationed in the country. The port of Grøtsund is being reconfigured to host more subs, which can be used to monitor arctic waters – the key path for Russian ships and submarines sailing to the Atlantic.
Several Norwegian air bases are also being modernised. Many of them host NATO spy planes, such as the “flying radars” AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) and the American P-8 Poseidon. Their flights in the region have long become routine, but they have been increasingly testing the Russian Air Force’s readiness, forcing it to scramble jets and intercept NATO spy planes on a daily basis in July and August 2020 because the alliance’s spy planes were coming too close to the country’s borders.