Russia’s Growing Threat to Norway and the North Atlantic

Russian ballistic missile submarineWhile much of Russia’s aggression has been targeted at Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula, Norway’s geopolitical location, and border to Russia, continues to define its defense planning.

Modernizations of the Russian armed forces and their increased willingness to use force to meet political motives are driving factors of concern for Norway, according to [Norwegian spokesperson for the Chief of Defense, Lt. Col. Eystein] Kvarving. The country has become vulnerable to Russia’s growing inventory of long-range, precision guided weapons, as well as the Kremlin’s offensive cyber and electronic warfare capabilities.

“What we would call the ‘warning time’ that we would have earlier in order to prepare for our own military has gone down drastically,” Kvarving told TheDCNF. “We need to shorten our response times and we need to modernize part of our military in order to meet new threats….”

“I think one issue that perhaps isn’t getting as much attention as it should is Norway’s concern about Maritime security and increased Russian presence both in the Norwegian Sea and in the North Atlantic,” Jorge Benitez, director of NATOSource, said in an interview with TheDCNF.

Benitez is referring to the so-called GIUK Gap, the area between Greenland, Iceland and the United Kingdom. It is also close to Norway’s Atlantic coast, which makes a strong naval presence from NATO essential to Norwegian security.

“There is much more aggressive presence of Russian submarines in that area, at levels we’ve not seen since the Cold War,” Benitez told TheDCNF. “It’s a significant threat that’s been getting some attention in the military circles, but needs to get more attention from the political circles.”

Image: Russian ballistic missile submarine (photo: Bellona Foundation)