This article takes a look at a Norwegian military base in the far north of the country, above the Arctic Circle and on the border with Russia.
After the wall of the Soviet Union, the United States, Norway, and other NATO allies began pulling it out of the Arctic, as Russia was not seen as a threat. However, after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, Norway and other arctic states have been on alert and began re-increasing their military capabilities in the region.
This buildup comes at a critical time for another reason; the changing climate in the Arctic means that the region is opening up for shipping and commercial activities, an opportunity that Russia has jumped on. More so than any other Arctic state, Russia has enormous economic and strategic interests in the region and is seeking to protect or expand it’s holding in the area.
In the past years, Russian submarines have pushed further into the Arctic and military bases on the Kola Peninsula have been modernized and expanded. The Russian Northern Fleet is based in this region, and military exercises and tactics are believed to be becoming more advanced.
All this activity necessitates the Norwegian outpost, which keeps tabs on Russian maneuvers along the border. To counter the buildup of the Russians, NATO has also increased its presence; in October, NATO allies staged one of the largest military exercises since 2002 in Norway, and an Arctic command has been established in Norfolk, VA to evaluate threats in the region.
Where this buildup will head is not clear yet, but Norwegian allies are keen on avoiding an arms race in the region, which would put them on the frontlines of any conflict.
Read more about these developments here.