“A mutual wish to exchange information about military activities and contribute to avoid misunderstandings,” says the Norwegian Defense Ministry in a short note informing about Friday’s meeting in Moscow.
In 2014, Norway halted all military cooperation with Russia after what Norway names “the illegal annexation of Crimea” and “violations of international law and destabilisation of Ukraine.” The only exceptions were border guard and coast guard cooperation in the north. The two countries also keep the door open in regards to search- and rescue cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic.
The meeting, which took place in the defence ministry’s offices in Moscow, was only for consultations and did not include any politicians. However, such meeting is important in times of increased tensions between east and west, also in the high north.
“The meeting agenda included discussions on topics like regional and international security, the situation in Syria, as well as possible steps to reduce tensions, develop bilateral confidence-building measures and prevent incidents connected with military activities,” the Russian text of the ministry’s press-note reads.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Surveillance and search and rescue top Canada’s Arctic defence priorities, Radio Canada International
Finland: Finland wants to bolster military by at least 64 fighter jets, Yle News
Norway: Keeping Arctic stable and peaceful is top priority, says Norway’s foreign minister, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: Russia embassy in Oslo lashes out at so-called “russophobic fantasies”, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Government split over military threat faced by Sweden, Radio Sweden