Hundreds of U.S. Marines landed in Norway on Monday (January 16), the first foreign troops that will be allowed to be stationed there since World War Two. Russia has questioned the need for such a deployment. Lucy Fielder reports.
This will be the first foreign military deployment in Norway since World War Two, and it's got Russia riled. U.S. Marines landing on Monday (January 16) near Trondheim, Norway's third-largest city. Norway's arctic neighbour Russia has in the past questioned the need for the deployment, which will last for a year. It also coincides with the U.S. sending several thousand troops to Poland as part of a NATO plan to beef up eastern European allies worried about Moscow's assertiveness. Russia called that an "aggressive step on its borders", and a threat. But Norway's Home Guards, who will host the new arrivals on their military base, have played down any link to concerns about Russia, as has the defence ministry in Oslo. Arctic winter survival skills are the point, they say. And the Marines will join the Joint Viking exercises in March, along with British troops. But Russia's annexation of Crimea did rattle Norway; its defence minister telling Reuters back in 2014 that it was clear Russia was willing to use military means to serve political goals.