Russia with artillery shelling in Varanger fjord near Norway's Grense Jakobselv
The Varanger fjord forms the border between Norway and Russia. From the shore and the first 12 nautical miles is territorial water, while further north in the Barents Sea to 200 nautical miles is the maritime border dividing each country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Artillery shelling will take place on April 20 and 21, the coastal warning (PRIP) issued by Murmansk Sea Port Administration reads. The agency is in charge of sailings in the Russian part of the Barents Sea and the Arctic.
It is unclear if the shooting will come from shore or by warships sailing in the area. On Monday, the powerful Northern Fleet launched a large exercise headed by Russian Navy commander-in-chief, Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov.
The exercise includes a flotilla of navy vessels, submarines, coastal and ground forces, anti-aircraft missile systems and the Northern Fleet’s air force.
The western edge of the area with a warning for artillery shelling is only 8 kilometers from shore in Grense Jakobselv. Here Norwegian border guards have a clear view into Russian waters from their northernmost watchtower.
Distance from the western edge of the shelling area to the territorial borderline to Norway is about 3-4 nautical miles (5-7 kilometers).
Norwegian military spokesperson, Major Brynjar Stordal, says this is Russia’s own territorial waters, and “they have all rights to conduct such kinds of exercises in the area.”
“It is not attracting special attention from the Joint Headquarters,” he adds.
In February, the Barents Observer reported about the Northern Fleet’s missile cruiser “Marshal Ustinov” sailing very close to Norway’s border outside Grense Jakobselv.
Frigate north of Finnmark
While the majority of vessels participating in the ongoing exercise sails just north of the Kola Bay, the frigate “Admiral Kasatonov“ is currently north of Norway’s Finnmark region.
“Admiral Kasatonov is involved in combat training tasks in the exercise in the western part of the Barents Sea,” the Northern Fleet’s press service informed on Tuesday evening.