Norwegian Defence Minister Claims Russia Attempting to ‘Isolate’ His Country From Allies

Despite port calls by NATO’s nuclear-powered submarines to the civilian harbour of Tromsø triggering broad internal criticism, ranging from locals to opposition politicians, who believe it drags Norway deeper into the superpower struggle, the country’s defence minister chose to focus on a similar comment by a Russian expert.

Norwegian Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen has plunged head first into a debate surrounding port calls by NATO nuclear submarines to the Arctic city of Tromsø, which according to analysts and critics alike, endangers the city’s position by making it a bomb target.

Previously, Russian military expert and editor-in-chief Alexei Leonkov warned that a nuclear submarine in Tromsø’s harbour automatically makes it a prime target, thus making Norwegian territory more vulnerable.

This idea was largely shared earlier this week during protests against a port call by the USS New Mexico, the first one by a nuclear submarine since 2007, as well as opposition politicians such as Reds leader Bjørnar Moxnes who reiterated his claim that this increases the risk of Tromsø becoming a military target.

Yet, according to Bakke-Jensen, this is proof of Russia trying to gain a veto right over Norway’s security policy.

He also shot down the idea the expanded cooperation with NATO in general and the US in particular, which includes the port calls, implies any increased risk.

Frank Bakke-Jensen flatly rejected the idea that these measures could, jointly with the…

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