Soldiers with Northern Brigade in Troms preparing for the drill at Setermoen. Photo: Øivind Baardsen / Norwegian Armed Forces

Norway calls snap drill in north, hours after Russia

Norwegian Armed Forces move soldiers and vehicles to Finnmark, but says the drill is planned long before Russia’s Defence Minister on Tuesday morning ordered a combat readiness inspection of troops.
June 14, 2016

The unannounced Norwegian combat readiness drill includes troops to Tana in Finnmark, less than 150 kilometres from Putin’s strategically important Kola Peninsula.

“The aim of the exercise is to test the emergency response system of the Northern Brigade and to train responsiveness,” says Lieutenant Colonel Aleksander Jankov, spokesman for the Army, in a phone interview with the Barents Observer on Tuesday evening.

“It is important to drill the operational units of the Army,” Aleksander Jankov tells and underlines the drill has nothing to do with the on-going Russian troops readiness inspection.

“This has nothing to do with the Russian drill. Our intention is to test the Army’s responsiveness; something we do irregularly from time to time.”

Lt. Col. Aleksander Jankov

NATO deploys 4 battalions to eastern flank

He adds that the drill has been planned for a long time and has also nothing to do with Tuesday’s meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence in Brussels, where Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg underlined that new battalions in the Baltic states and in Poland are part of a bigger shift in NATO’s defence and deterrence posture.

“We will agree to deploy by rotation four robust multinational battalions in the Baltic States and in Poland,” Stoltenberg said according to NATO’s portal

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

In order to be as realistic as possible, the snap drill in northern Norway came as a surprise for the divisions and soldiers involved.

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The drill includes forces to be moved from the Army’s Garrisons in Troms (Sætermoen and Skjold) to Finnmark. Movements will take place both along the main roads and with helicopters. The Army writes in a press release that it recommends civilians driving along E6 to watch up. Heavy military traffic along the roads will continue throughout the night.

Russia checks mobilization readiness

Russia’s Minister of Defence, Sergey Shoigu says their unannounced readiness check aims at assessing combat and mobilization readiness of troops and forces.

“A number of armament and hardware storing bases and separate military control bodies will be inspected,” Shoigu says according to a press release posted on the Ministry’s portal. The drill will continue for a week.

Russia’s Defence Ministry has informed military attaches of embassies in Moscow of all Vienna Document states about the drill, another press release informs. 

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