Norway raises military alert level despite no sign of immediate threat

Norway will raise its military alert level on Tuesday due to the war in Ukraine, despite not having detected an immediate direct threat, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store announced today.

Norway is a member of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and shares an Arctic border with Russia, which invaded Ukraine on February 24 this year.

“From tomorrow [Tuesday], Defense will raise its alert level in Norway,” Store said at a press conference in Oslo, quoted by the French news agency AFP.

“We have no reason to believe today that Russia wants to drag Norway or any other country directly into the war, but the war in Ukraine makes it necessary for all NATO countries to be more vigilant,” he said.

Store said that Norway, like Europe, was experiencing “the most serious security situation in decades”.

“The increase in tension makes us more exposed to threats and espionage,” he also said, according to the Spanish news agency EFE.

Norway has become Europe’s main supplier of natural gas after Russian supplies were cut off following sanctions imposed on Moscow for invading Ukraine.

The Scandinavian country had already increased the security of its strategic locations by detecting suspicious flights of drones (unmanned aircraft), including near distant oil platforms at sea, and after the alleged sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the neighboring Baltic Sea.

In recent weeks, several Russians have been arrested in Norway for illegally flying over the country or violating bans on taking photographs in sensitive locations.

Last week, Norwegian counterintelligence arrested a man suspected of being a “clandestine agent” of the Russian services, who experts say may be an officer of the military intelligence.

“I must point out that nothing has happened in the last day or days that makes it go up [alert level] a plateau now. It’s an evolution over time that makes it happen,” insisted Store.

The prime minister said that “people will not see big changes in their lives” with the decision.

“It’s about our military apparatus, personnel, and how to organize their activity,” he added.

According to Defense Minister Bjorn Arild Gram, the increase in the level of military alert will result in measures regarding logistics, security of communications, and security around military installations.

“Not everything that is done is visible, and not everything can be talked about openly,” said Gram, who declined to give more specific details, according to EFE.

In the face of growing tensions between Russia and the West, Norway had already increased its military budget and intelligence efforts in the north, where it shares a 198-kilometer border with Russia.

The security crisis in Europe triggered by the war in Ukraine is considered the most serious since the Second World War (1939-1945).

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