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Norway Notes Raised Russian Submarine, Air Activity

07.12.2007 The second half of 2007 has seen an increase in submarine activity out of Russia’s Northern Fleet Base (NFB) in Murmansk, according to fresh “tracking” reports produced by the Norway Armed Forces’ Military Intelligence Unit (MIU) for the Ministry of Defense (MoD). The increase in submarine activity mirrors a rise in scheduled and unflagged exercises by Russian air Force in the North Atlantic and off Norway’s western coast, the report observes.

However, the report notes that Norway’s territorial waters and airspace have not been violated by the increase in Russia’s air and naval operations in the region. The report explained the increased activity as “Russia’s need to display its renewed military strength” to NATO.

“Norway is not overly alarmed over the higher number of aircraft and submarine operations,” said Espen Barth Eide, state secretary at the MoD. “Russia appears to be displaying both its intent and ability to be a superpower to be reckoned with.”

The rise in Russian submarine activity in the North Atlantic reflects Russia’s response to U.S. plans to locate a rocket shield system on the European continent, said Eide.

“Russia is vigorously opposed to this plan, and the increase in naval submarine and air force activity can be seen as being a part of its official response. The increased activity isn’t directed at any one country, and certainly not at Norway,” Eide said.

The report’s findings are based on intelligence gathered by Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNAF)-operated Orion surveillance aircraft, and aircraft “tracking” data collected by the RNAF’s Northern Air Force base in Bodo. The lack of anxiety evidenced in the MoD report is also reflected in relations between Russia and its western and southern neighbors, Finland and Estonia. A sign of growing crossborder cooperation with the Nordic and Baltic states took place in mid-November when Moscow agreed to form a joint committee to examine what measures could be deployed by Russia to avoid “accidental violations” of Finnish and Estonian airspace by Russian military aircraft.

Source: www.defensenews.com

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