First Russia-Norway defense ministries meeting since 2013

People cross the snow covered Red Square, with Saint Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin’s Spasskaya Tower seen in the background, during a heavy snowfall in Moscow on January 31, 2018. (Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images)
“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.

Norway and Russia maintain border guard cooperation, but few other military contacts. Here on the Russian side of the border in 2013. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Surveillance and search and rescue top Canada’s Arctic defence prioritiesRadio 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

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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