NEW COLD WAR: Massive NATO Exercise in Norway Provocation directed Moscow. Russian General sends “Arctic Warning” to US
The Cold Response 2012 exercise taking place in Northern Norway on the border to Russia is a provocation and a sign of NATO wanting to strengthen its geopolitical and diplomatic efforts with military might, two Russian military experts say.
The largest military exercise in Norway in ten years’ time is now taking place in Mid-Troms and involves 16,000 soldiers from 15 countries. The exercise includes the largest-ever live firing drill held on Norwegian territory.
“The current military exercise takes place amid NATO’s increased activities in the Arctic. This, in turn, is defined by the coming division of the natural resources in the region. Apparently, through flexing muscles NATO wants to show that it is set on strengthening its geopolitical and diplomatic efforts with military might”, says Chief editor of the newspaper “National Safety” Igor Korotchenko to Voice of Russia.
The exercise could as well have been held on Canadian territory, says Vladimir Yevseyev of the Center for International Security of the Institute of Global Economy and International Relations: “Nevertheless, the exercises are being held on
the territories of Norway and Sweden, in close proximity to the border of Russia. They might thus been seen as a provocation”. Russia has all grounds for concern, Yevseyev says, as “vessels equipped with the Spanish-based Aegis system can be deployed to the Arctic”.
The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (Aegis BMD) is a ship-based system provided with long-range radar that enables warships to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles. The system is part of the United States national missile defense strategy.
Head of the Russian General Staff Nikolai Makarov has warned the USA that Russia will take the necessary countermeasures if U.S. vessels with the Aegis system are deployed to northern waters or to the Black Sea.
Russia is keeping a close eye on the military activities in the Arctic, Igor Korotchenko says to Voice of Russia: “Russia is now creating two Arctic mobile brigades which can operate in any part of the Arctic, where it is necessary to protect the country’s interests”.
Two motorized rifle brigades specially trained for operations in the Arctic are planned to be created in the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions. In Murmansk it is the 200. The motorized infantry brigade in Pechenga, some 10 kilometers from the Russian-Norwegian border, is up for reorganization as an Arctic brigade, as BarentsObserver reported.
February 16, 2012
Russian general sends Arctic warning to USA
“We will not accept that U.S. vessels equipped with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System operate in our part of the Arctic,” the head of the Russian General Staff says.
Nikolai Makarov, leader of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, stresses that Russia will take the necessary countermeasures if U.S. vessels with the Aegis system are deployed to northern waters or to the Black Sea.
Talking with journalists, Russia´s highest-ranking military official underlines that the appearance of U.S. vessels in northern Russian waters will definitely “pose a threat”.
“We have matching measures ready,” Makarov says, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports. The general admits, however, that he is not keen on introducing the countermeasures, because they mean “additional financial spending”.
According to the general, the U.S.A. has been pressuring Norway to equip its Navy vessels with the missile defence system. “Norway has, fortunately, taken a balanced position,” Makarov says.
Russia continues to promote its nuclear weapon arsenal and strategic forces as its main military assets. In the interview, General Makarov stressed that the strategic forces will “under no circumstances” be subjected to budget cuts.
A key element in the Russian military strategy remains the role of nuclear submarines. Eight new strategic Borey class vessels, as well as eight multipurpose Yasen class subs, will be built before 2020. The two first vessels of the Borey class, the “Yuri Dolgoruki” and the “Aleksandr Nevski” will be formally included in the Navy in summer 2012, Makarov confirms.
The general also stresses that Russia will not hesitate to use its nuclear forces if needed. Talking to radio station Ekho Moskvy, the general says that “we are certainly not planning to fight against the whole of NATO […] but if there is a threat to the integrity of the Russian Federation, we have the right to use nuclear weapons, and we will.”
Russia’s nuclear deterrent is the cornerstone of strategic stability and serious efforts are being taken by the Russian government to modernize the country’s nuclear triad, RIA Novosti reports.
The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (Aegis BMD) is part of the United States’ national missile defense strategy. It enables warships to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles. According to Wikipedia, several countries have begun to deploy this system, among them Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, Australia, Netherlands, Germany and South Korea.
An American vessel equipped with the system reportedly recently visited the Ukrainian Black Sea ports of Odessa and Sevastopol, triggering protests from Russia.