The defence ministry has registered an increased Russian presence in the northern areas and expects the activity will increase in the time to come.
At present, there are more Russian naval vessels than usual in the northern areas. This requires extra vigilance from the Armed Forces, not least because of the generally tense situation in Europe.
NTB reports on the case.
he defence ministry is following the activity closely, we do this continuously together with our allies. We are familiar with the activity and have a good picture of what is happening off our coast, writes the Norwegian Armed Forces’ operational headquarters in an email to Nettavisen.
Some of the increased activity is explained by the fact that the Russians will mark their annual commemoration of Victory Day on 9 May. From the Norwegian Defence Forces, this is described as legitimate traffic from the Russian side.
Nevertheless, this activity is expected to become more noticeable during May and June, meaning that Norwegians will be paying extra close attention.
Going forward, we expect major allied and Russian activity in our sea areas. The Russians sail legally in international waters, but the Norwegian Armed Forces monitor their activity.
Norway has a fairly limited range of naval vessels available to carry out control and surveillance in these areas.
This is one of the topics that was touched upon in the report from the defence commission presented this week.
Of the original five Norwegian frigates, there are now four left after the Helge Ingstad sinking. This force also struggles with fewer sailing days and maintenance challenges, there are hardly more than one to two frigates available.
The Norwegian submarine force has traditionally been an important factor for the Norwegian Armed Forces in these areas. These somewhat ageing, but still usable, submarines are in the process of being phased out. They are to be replaced with four brand new vessels from Germany.
Overall, the Norwegian navy does not have everything it needs to contend with the requirements. So Norway is now dependent on contributions from allied fleet units in order to have a sufficient presence in the northern sea areas.
The Air Force will also play a role in monitoring the North Sea.