“The Russian-Norwegian border relationship will not necessarily be badly affected”
“Nuclear powers always wonder whether conflicts can degenerate into nuclear war. This is reflected in Putin’s order yesterday to place Russian nuclear power plants in a state of war readiness as a warning to the United States,” he says and continues:
“If the current conflict escalates out of control, and if Russia were to come under a strong threat to its nuclear strike capability in the North, particularly from the United States and Britain, the country would take action extremes to protect its nuclear weapons.
“Then we are in the area of defense of the Russian stronghold, which will extend to northern Norway [and is based on denying other states’ forces access, journ.note]. It is, however, the last step on the escalation ladder and comes just before nuclear war,” Bertelsen points out.
In an interview with High North News, Professor Katarzyna Zysk of the [Norwegian] The Institute for Defense Studies expresses a similar view on what Russia might think of the High North given the current situation, and what its country might end up doing in the North in the event of an escalation. with NATO.
Tight knot around Cold Response 2022
In the continuity of all this, the next Cold Response military exercise, led by Norway, is very relevant. The exercise begins March 10 and will continue until April 8, involving some 35,000 soldiers.
Most of the Allied forces come from the United States and Great Britain. The majority of exercise activity will take place in northern Norway.
In the current situation, the exercise offers a difficult consideration, argues Bertelsen.
“On the one hand, Norway and NATO cannot back down. On the other hand, conducting such a large military exercise in northern Norway now, in light of the horrible situation in Eastern Europe, is rather risky,” he says and continues:
“Yes, Norway informed about the exercise and Russia will probably send observers. However, Russia is very afraid of having American and British forces too close to its strategic nuclear forces in the North.
“Norway and the allies probably can’t do anything but stand firm and execute the drill. At the same time, it’s crucial to reassure the Russians that they don’t panic and believe that the exercise will lead them to an attack”, says the professor and underlines:
“It will be extremely important to avoid misunderstandings, accidents and air or sea clashes between NATO and Russian aircraft and ships, which could spiral out of control. The lines of communication between the Russian Northern Fleet and the headquarters of the joint operation near Bodø will be of decisive importance.