Moscow has said that the continued presence of US troops on Norwegian soil will increase tensions with Russia.
Norway recently announced that 330 US marines will remain stationed in a base in the country until the end of 2018, doubling the initially-announced one-year trial period for the troops’ deployment.
The US troops were sent to the Norwegian base last January for winter warfare and cross-country skiing practice and to take part in joint drills with other NATO countries.
“We consider that this step contradicts Norwegian policy of not deploying foreign military bases in the country in times of peace,” said a statement released by the Russian embassy in Norway on Saturday.
It adds that it “makes Norway (a) not fully predictable partner, can also escalate tension, and lead to destabilization of the situation in the Northern region.”
Norway denies that the troops’ deployment is directed against Russia. “A high level of regular allied presence creates a stabilizing state of normality in times of peace, which contributes to deterrence and defense,” said Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide earlier in the week.
NATO troops have, on numerous occasions, been deployed to the country to take part in military drills, but were not stationed there.
The last time foreign troops were deployed there was when Russian Red Army soldiers were stationed in northern Norway after they drove out German forces, which had occupied Norway from 1940 to 1945.