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Norway Launches Largest Military Drill Since Cold War

Norway Launches Largest Military Drill Since Cold War

Norwegian soldiers from the army, navy and air-force take part in an extensive exercise this week, mainly in the western part of Finnmark.

RT report: Unprecedented war games, involving 5,000 Norwegian troops and 400 vehicles, have started in Norway’s northernmost province, bordering Russia. The biggest exercises since Cold War days will last for a week, amid growing tensions between Russia and NATO.

Joint Viking, Norway’s biggest military training exercise in nearly 50 years, is being held in the country’s far northeast Finnmark County, above the Arctic Circle. The region borders Russia’s Kola Peninsula.

The last time a similar military exercise was conducted in Finnmark was in 1967.

“Today the army will transport their vehicles and crews to Finnmark and begin exercise Joint Viking. This is an operative exercise with all weapons and branches involved,” Norwegian Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Aleksander Jankov said. “To illustrate the magnitude of this, I can mention that if we put the vehicles one after another on the road it will stretch 6km.”

Apart from the ground troops involved, the exercise (which will last until March 18) has put Norway’s Navy submarines and surface vessels off the coast of Finnmark and Air Force fighter jets on alert. All types of weapons are promised to be put to use, reports the Barentz Observer.

The buildup of military activities next to Russian border does not promote restoration of confidence in Euro-Atlantic, acknowledged Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov after meeting with his Spanish counterpart.

“We believe problems should be resolved through equitable and mutually respecting dialogue,” Lavrov said, stressing that Moscow reserves the right to “react adequately” to the drills in Norway.

The Russian Air Force staged military training of its own last week, when fighter jets from Monchegorsk Air Base on the Kola Peninsula trained intercepting enemy cruise missiles and aircraft.